Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924
Ridgway Knight was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1858 - 1861 and then traveled to Paris and studied at the Atelier Gleyre and with Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1861 - 1863. Knight returned to America to serve in the Army; he met and married Rebecca Webster and in 1871 he and his bride returned to France -where they remained for the rest of their lives.
By 1873 Knight moved to Poissy - a rural area just outside of Paris. It was there that he found the subject matter that would occupy him for the rest of his life - the French farm laborer.
A writer in the May1876 edition of the Art Journal writes about Knight's Salon painting entitled The French Washerwomen: "...the figures are drawn with remarkable spirit, and in their delineation much grace of form is show. It is without that artificial feeling which belongs to work where the conventional model is called into requisition." It was this ability to portray the human figure so naturally that made Knight so popular not only in his own lifetime, but even today.
Knight's most memorable images come from the time he spent in Rolleboise - after 1896. Here he coupled his beautiful models with the lush landscapes and gardens around his home - creating many of his most highly sought after works.