Daniel Ridgway Knight, “In the Garden,” n.d., oil on canvas, 32 x 26 in., Private Collection

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 we feature a 19th-century academic masterpiece.

A Pennsylvania native, artist Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924) would spend much of his life abroad in Paris, where his paintings of peasant women amidst the countryside earned him great success. In addition to his pastoral subjects, Knight was a supremely skilled and acute observer of the natural world. Knight was also known for his talent for rendering the human form, which was comparable to that of his 19th-century contemporary William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Early in his career, Knight was fortunate to have studied under Gleyre at the École des Beaux-Arts, and he later worked in the private studio of Meissonier. Knight was honored several times throughout his life, including a silver medal and the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1889. He was also made a Knight of the Royal Order of St. Michael of Bavaria in 1893. The Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, also awarded the artist a gold medal of honor in 1893.

Knight’s works are heavily collected, and the market frequently demands more than $100,000 for his works. Samuel’s Online Auction expects similar numbers when Knight’s “In the Garden” heads to the block on May 6, 2017. This work displays Knight’s proficiency as a figure painter, colorist, and landscape artist. Standing at center is one of Knight’s canonical peasant girls. Her left arm rests on her hip, and she holds a water jug in the right. Immediately surrounding the figure is a lush arrangement of colorful flowers, rendered with acute observation and precision. The atmospheric landscape beyond this foreground is stunning as well.

In 2001, “In the Garden” was sold through Vose Galleries for $440,000 and is now being offered with a starting bid of $150,000 — its lowest listing ever. Samuel’s Online, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, expects the painting to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000.

To learn more, visit Live Aucitoneers.

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