Daniel Ridgway Knight
- Daniel Ridgway Knight
The Rose Garden
- signed Ridgway Knight and inscribed Paris (lower right)
- oil on canvas
Daniel Ridgway Knight is best known for his exquisite and peaceful renderings of women tending to the landscape. In 1858, he became a pupil of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where his fellow students included Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, William Sartain and Everett Shinn. He helped to establish the Philadelphia Sketch Club in 1861 and then sailed to France the same year. In Paris in 1872 he studied with the two most eminent genre painters of the day, Marc-Gabriel-Charles Gleyre and Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier. He settled in Rolleboise-par-Bonnières, a pastoral spot on the edges of the capital, more suited to his sunlit visions of the countryside.
While with Gleyre, Ridgway Knight began long-term friendships with the young Impressionists Alfred Sisley and Auguste Renoir, an unusual relationship for an aspiring history painter. As the American Civil War moved closer to Phildelphia in 1863, Knight returned home to enlist. He spent the next ten years in Philadelphia continuing his studies after the war. He exhibited historical subjects, but supported himself financially by painting portraits and teaching in his studio. In 1871, Knight married one of his students, Rebecca Webster, and they moved to France where they settled permanently. Knight enhanced his reputation by exhibiting extensively in Europe and internationally, and frequently at the Paris Salon where he was awarded an honourable mention in 1882 and a third-class medal 1888, and at the Munich Salon a gold medal in 1888 and silver 1889, and in the many World Fairs held at the end of the nineteenth century.