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Street Scene (Hester Street)

George Benjamin Luks

American Art

In this scene capturing a crowded pushcart market on Hester Street on New York’s Lower East Side, George Benjamin Luks positions the viewer directly at street level and in close proximity to the array of men, women, and children who throng the foreground. Although the painting has been interpreted as a sympathetic vignette of Jewish life, it shows a closer kinship to Luks’s colleague Robert Henri’s method of representing people as racial or ethnic “types” rather than as specific individuals (see nearby work). Here, the figures are presented in profile, with particular attention to skin color and physical features, while the subject matter relates to a series of caricatures of Jewish peddlers—which engage with anti-Semitic stereotypes—that Luks created for Truth magazine in the 1890s.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1905
DIMENSIONS 25 13/16 x 35 7/8 in. (65.5 x 91.1 cm) frame: 32 1/2 x 43 x 3 in. (82.6 x 109.2 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower right: "George Luks"
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION George Benjamin Luks (American, 1867–1933). Street Scene (Hester Street), 1905. Oil on canvas, 25 13/16 x 35 7/8 in. (65.5 x 91.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 40.339 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 40.339_PS20.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 40.339_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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