Daniel Ridgway Knight

American, 1839 - 1924
Born in Philadelphia to Quaker parents, Daniel Ridgway Knight overcame the culturally restrictive Quaker life, studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in his native city before traveling to Parts in 1861. There he worked under Charles Gleyre along with other artists such as Pierre Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. He returned to Philadelphia in 1863 to serve in the Civil War, remaining there for the following eight years. During this time Knight supported himself by painting portraits and genre pictures.

In 1871, his Philadelphia patrons sent him back to France, where he succeeded so well at painting in the European style that he remained abroad for the rest of his life.

In 1872, Knight began studying under the realist painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier. Although unaccustomed to teaching, Meissonier made an exception with Knight whom he influenced greatly. In 1875, Meissonier assisted Knight in obtaining entry to the prestigious Paris Salon, helping to ensure a favorable judgment of Knight's entries in the Salon's annual juried exhibitions. Knight subsequently moved out of Paris to Poissy, a charming village on the Seine an hour away, where he continued working under Meissonier.

At Poissy he executed the peasant subjects for which he became so well known. Working toward a more natural lighting, a style that dominated painting at the time. Knight even built a glass house in his garden, permitting him to work in natural lighting the entire year.

Knight became friendly with his neighbors in Poissy, and although his paintings of them are picturesque, he avoided an overly sentimental approach. His people carry on their daily tasks, and one can develop an understanding of their character from his sensitive renditions. The lush foliage in Knight's paintings conveys the beauty of the fertile French countryside.

Knight's technique was to intensify certain colors in the foreground of his composition, contrasting them against gray skies and subdued backgrounds, which conveyed a heightened sense of reality. The transition from one form to another was accomplished through the exact use of color rather than through an emphasis on shadow and light. Knight's skillful use of lighting gradations frequently conveyed definite moods. The artist continued to explore the nuances of this style until his death in 1924.

Daniel Ridgway Knight's paintings enjoy widespread popularity. They can be found in many museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ne

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton
Daniel Ridgeway Knight, born in 1839, studied first at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and then saved his money for eight years in order to finance an education at L'ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1881-83. Knight was an expatriate plein-air painter and spent most of his career living in France. His paintings often depicted an idealized young peasant woman in crisp academic style and minute detail of skin and gesture. These women were usually placed in a sunlit landscape. His painting "Hailing the Ferry" (1888) won him praise and awards in the U.S. and France and was soon issued as a lithograph, becoming one of the most copied 19th century paintings. The design was even used in fabric decoration. During WWI, Knight worked for the French as a pictorial propagandist. He died in 1924.

Biography courtesy of The Caldwell Gallery, www.antiquesandfineart.com/caldwell
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