Daniel Ridgway Knight, “The Sewing Circle,” oil on canvas, 36 x 47 in. (c) A.B. Levy’s 2017

In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Daniel Ridgway Knight, “The Sewing Circle.”

The paintings of Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924) often represent the best elements — and subjects — of 19th-century painting, including history, genre, landscape, portrait, and floral themes. Born into a strict Quaker home in Philadelphia, Knight rejected his family’s grooved path toward working in a local hardware store. Rather, Knight forged his own path into the arts, studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts before traveling to Paris to enroll at the Atelier Gleyre.

Among Knight’s fellow students were Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, William Sartain, and Everett Shinn. By the mid-1870s, Knight had established himself as a preeminent painter of peasant life. His preferred subjects included women in fields gathering flowers. Knight’s style was immediately revered by his contemporaries and collectors for its extreme tightness, detail, and clarity.

Heading to auction on March 16 via Palm Beach, Florida’s A.B. Levy’s is a gorgeous original by Knight, complete with his canonical subject and recognizable style. In the work titled “The Sewing Circle,” the viewer has stumbled upon a group of women casually sitting and conversing as they sew. Just to the group’s left is an overgrown water well, with houses beyond. The women occupy a beautiful field, with ribbons of wildflowers adding flashes of color in the sea of green. Auction estimates are between $200,000 and $300,000.

To learn more, visit Live Auctioneers.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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