[Wooded landscape with pond]
George Benjamin Luks
Known primarily for his association with the Eight, a group of artists that coalesced around the artist and educator Robert Henri, Luks shared with his colleagues a commitment to realism and modern subject matter. Rejecting what they felt was the restrictive nature of traditional academic painting, Luks, Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, and Everett Shinn are typically referred to as the “Ashcan School” for their scenes of urban life. A vivacious, earthy personality and something of a braggart, Luks once stated “there are only two great artists in the world—Frans Hals and little old George Luks.” His works are quite varied, ranging from comics and news illustrations of the Spanish-American War to the scenes of urban life that established his reputation in the early 1900s. He studied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1884. While the Eight aspired to nothing less than a revolution in art, their efforts were quickly overshadowed by the explosive modernist innovations developed in Europe at the time. Luks began painting rural landscapes in watercolor after 1915, and the bold, expressive forms in works like Wooded Landscape with Pond show his awareness of European artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse. The bright glimpses of sky between the stark black branches of the forest and the use of transparent jewel-like hues display Luks’ skill as a colorist.
Date of Birth
Watercolor on cream wove paper
14 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. (37.465 x 50.165 cm.)
Gift of Donald and Willi Holden, in memory of Rie Yarnell