Details

Title

Matches Mary

Artist/Maker

George Benjamin Luks (American, 1867–1933)

Date

ca. 1905

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Contact the museum for more information

Credit

Gift of Sally and Allen McDaniel

Accession #

2024.2

On View

On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 3, Gallery 304

George Luks painted memorable figures of the immigrant and working-class communities of New York in the early 1900s. One of the most well known was Matches Mary, an older woman who earned her living, and nickname, selling lights to theatergoers between acts. With a reputation for accosting passersby along Broadway, she became a favorite of local newspapers and caricaturists, who often portrayed her as ghoulish and decrepit. With this sympathetic portrait, Luks presents a real person rather than a “picturesque” profile typical of the society pages.

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