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Title:The illustrations of Everett Shinn and George Luks
Author(s):Kasanof, Nina
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Manthorne, Katherine
Department / Program:Art History
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Art History
Abstract:Everett Shinn and George Luks established their place in American art through the kinds of paintings they showed with "The Eight" in 1908. Their works, as well as those of the other realists in the group--Robert Henri, John Sloan, and William Glackens, focused on themes of urban realism. Such subject matter broke with the more genteel art fashionable at the time. Shinn, Luks, Sloan and Glackens had begun their careers as illustrators, working for newspapers as artist-reporters, and turning to magazines when photography made their newspaper jobs obsolete.
Shinn and Luks were friends who shared living quarters and working experiences. Illustration was important to their artistic training, introducing them to topics they would deal with in their high art. Scholarly literature, however, has tended to neglect their illustrative work.
Both Shinn and Luks were acute observers of life, portraying it with objectivity. Nevertheless, neither could escape employing stereotypical images that reflected prevailing notions. Shinn's early realism gave way to stylized female images which accompanied the romantic stories he usually illustrated for the magazines. His experience as an art director for the movies, and his involvement with the theater reinforced the stock images he developed for a mass media audience.
Luks also had theatrical experience, having performed in a vaudeville act. Minstrel show types appear frequently in the cartoons he drew for the New York World. Luks' Yellow Kid, L'il Mose, and other comic strips often relied on ethnic humor, conforming to the attitudes of the readers. Luks went on to draw cartoons for the politically liberal Verdict, producing his finest graphic work while attacking the power of the trusts, and political corruption.
Shinn and Luks were immersed in the life around them. Robert Henri, the spearhead of The Eight, had exhorted his young friends to paint the kinds of subjects they were illustrating, and to eschew the escapist themes of academic art. Commercial assignments, especially in their newspaper days, pushed them to deal with topical issues. Shinn and Luks did not make a distinction between commercial and fine art, and understood that the former helped create the latter.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Kasanof, Nina
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236498
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236498

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