George Luks (1867-1933)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 37 × 68 3/8 in. (94 × 173.7 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of an anonymous donor
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
George Luks’s Armistice Night records one of the frenzied, flag-waving celebrations that marked the end of World War I. Luks’s skill at capturing the essence of an event in a few swift strokes was honed during his years as a newspaper illustrator in Philadelphia at the turn of the twentieth century, when he was often dispatched to sketch scenes of breaking news. In Armistice Night, as in his earlier illustrations, Luks does not deliberate over particulars: the painting is a blur of American and Allied flags, faces, and fireworks. Blue smoke obscures the buildings in the background, and few individuals stand out in the quickly-rendered crowd. Typically, Luks was more committed to capturing the spirit of the moment than to transcribing visual facts—in this case the action and human drama in a celebratory crowd.