George Luks (American, 1866–1933)
Oil on canvas
30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
The Edward Joseph Gallagher III Memorial Collection, Gift of Edward Joseph Gallagher, Jr., 1954 (54.10.2)
Having moved from Philadelphia to New York in 1896, Luks began work for the New York World, taking over as illustrator of the popular comic strip "The Yellow Kid," which described the adventures of a band of streetwise kids on the Lower East Side. Cheerful young denizens of the slums also appear in Luks' paintings of New York. Seeking respite from urban hurly-burly during the 1920s, Luks purchased a farmhouse in Old Chatham, New York, a rural town about 130 miles north of Manhattan. During summers there, he made portraits of some of his neighbors, including the young man who posed for Boy with Baseball. Unlike Luks' earlier paintings of children, which are infused with urban energy and the vitality of youth—his sitters' and his own—Boy with Baseball is static, composed of flat patches of color applied with broad brushstrokes. It suggests the tranquility that Luks had found in his pastoral habitat.