Low-temperature photoluminescence (PL) measurements have been performed in narrow GaAs-Ga1-xAlxAs quantum wells subject to an electric field perpendicular to the well plane. At low fields the PL spectra show two peaks associated, respectively, with exciton and free-electron-to-impurity recombination. With increasing field the PL intensity decreases, with the excitonic structure decreasing at a much faster rate, and becomes completely quenched at a field of a few tens of kV/cm. This is accompanied by a shift in the peak position to lower energies. The results are interpreted as caused by the field-induced separation of carriers and modification of the quantum energies. Variational calculations performed for isolated, finite quantum wells explain qualitatively the experimental observations. © 1982 The American Physical Society.