Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1839-1924) In Her Garden
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Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1839-1924)
In Her Garden
Signed and inscribed "Ridgway Knight Paris" l.l.
Oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 26 in. (82.2 x 66 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, retouch, craquelure.
N.B. A native of Philadelphia, Daniel Ridgway Knight developed his artistic talent early in life when he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with classmates such as Mary Cassatt and Thomas Eakins. Despite his talented and enthusiastic American contemporaries, Knight longed for the culture and thrill of Paris. He made his first trip overseas in 1861, where he studied under two highly regarded artists: Gabriel Charles Gleyre, and Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonnier. The beautiful countryside of Poissy, France, led Knight to discover his passion and inspiration for depicting the French peasantry. After a few years in Poissy, Knight sailed back to America to fight in the Civil War for his hometown of Philadelphia. There, he fell in love and married, taking his new bride back to France in 1871, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Knight's famous paintings of young peasant women capture the solitude and beauty of nature. His figures relay intense contemplation and peaceful captivity, gazing into beautiful gardens and across calm waters. The revealing quality of rich color and soft light stems from the celebrated Impressionist style. To more accurately capture the fundamental nature of light, Knight constructed a glass studio where he could position his models outside in natural light. His peaceful and ideal depictions of the peasant class draws direct contrast to those of his contemporary Gustave Courbet, whose paintings illustrate a more stark, rough life of the peasantry.