When The Dominican was exhibited in May 1919, critics responded enthusiastically. Duncan Phillips purchased the work the following year and considered it one of the best oils in his collection. However, as Phillips's interest in modern art increased, his initial enthusiasm for the painting waned; but it remains as documentation of Phillips's early collecting taste as well as Luks's versatility.
The sitter is not a Dominican but rather George W. Maynard (1843-1923), an artist and respected member of the National Academy of Design. Luks's reason for portraying Maynard as a cleric is unknown; however, he often dressed his sitters in costumes that resembled their demeanors. He most likely intended satirical commentary on Maynard as a patriarch of the powerful, highly conservative Academy. Luks may also have been consciously emulating Old Masters like El Greco, Raphael, and Zurbaran in producing a stately, ecclesiastical portrait that was meant to compete with other paintings in the 1914 "Exhibition of Work by the National Association of Portrait Painters" at the Carnegie Institute.