Alexander Kruse (1888-1972) grew up in New York City at a time when the Ash Can artists were advocating art that focused on everyday life. Kruse embraced this ideal from an early age. Kruse came of age as an artist during the period that America emerged as a world power and American art achieved recognition as more than a copy of European styles. George Luks, a member of the Ash Can group of painters, discovered the ten-year-old Kruse sketching on Grand Street in New York City. Luks encouraged Kruse to study art at the East Side Educational Alliance. Kruse followed his advice; he later studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League.