Lucas, George A., 1824-1909
George Aloysius Lucas was a collector and art agent for American art
collectors and patrons. He was the son of a publisher and book illustrator,
Fielding Lucas jr (d. 1854).
Lucas graduated from West Point
in 1848 and began working as a civil engineer on the railroads in New Jersey. From 1852 to
1853 he was working with Whistler's half-brother George.
In 1857 Lucas moved to Paris,
where he made his name as agent to a number of American art collectors and
dealers. He helped to build up the collection of the Baltimore businessman William T. Walters,
purchasing significant nineteenth century works of art by Honoré
Daumier, Jean-Léon Gérôme,
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Antoine-Louis Barye, Théodore Rousseau and Paul
Lucas also bought extensively for the New York art dealer Samuel P. Avery, as well
as for other American patrons such as John Taylor Johnston, Cyrus J. Lawrence,
William Henry Vanderbilt and Henry Field. Lucas himself owned a large number of
prints including works by Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet, Mary Cassatt and
Whistler. These he bequeathed to the Maryland Institute, College
of Art in Baltimore.
Whistler painted Lucas' portrait in August 1886, Portrait of George A.
Lucas (YMSM 355). Lucas gave it to Walters' son Henry in 1908. Lucas helped
arrange a number of exhibitions of Whistler's work in Paris, and Whistler used to stay at his
country house near Boissise, near Melun.
The two men were in correspondence from 1862 to 1886, but around 1886 their
friendship came to an end. In 1888 when Whistler married Beatrix Godwin, Lucas
took the side of Maud Franklin. It was he who helped her to settle in Paris.