Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice



    DANIEL RIDGWAY KNIGHT (American, 1839-1924)
    Young Woman Knitting
    Oil on canvas
    33 x 26 inches (83.8 x 66.0 cm)
    Signed and inscribed lower left: Ridgway Knight / Paris

    Collection of Campbell H. Elkins, Lubbock, Texas;
    Jerome H. Sharpe, San Diego, California, by bequest from the above.

    Best known for his idyllic and picturesque scenes of rural peasant life, Daniel Ridgway Knight received critical acclaim, fame and success during his lifetime, and today his works are some of the most recognizable and beloved images in nineteenth century art. Often depicting young peasant women in pleasing landscapes much like the present work, Knight's works reflect the artist's optimism and admiration for the lives and work of the peasant class, as well as his eye for capturing the beauty of his natural surroundings.

    Daniel Ridgway Knight was born in Philadelphia in 1839, and studied and exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1858 to 1861, sharing classes with Thomas Eakins and Mary Cassatt. In 1861 the young artist sailed for France to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he apprenticed with academic painters Charles Gleyre and Alexander Cabanel. Knight returned to Philadelphia in 1863 to enlist in the army during the Civil War, only to return to France in 1871 where he would reside for the remainder of his life.

    Upon his return to France, Knight formed friendships with Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Alfred Wordsworth, and his work began to reflect the influence of the three great French Impressionists, with a keen attention to the effects of light during different times of day and a focus on everyday subjects. After meeting the artist Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, he took residence in Poissy to be closer the renowned academic painter, who would have a tremendous influence on his work. Meissonier influenced Knight to incorporate a detailed style of realism in his compositions, and encouraged his artistic focus toward scenes of peasant life, which would become Knight's primary subject matter.

    Often compared to his contemporary Jean-Francois Millet, Knight was strongly impressed by the artist's work, but in contrast with Millet and other painters among the emerging Realist movement in France, he set his focus on uplifting rather than fatalistic depictions of the rural class. Moving his attention away from the hardships of labor, Knight instead idealized his figures, rendering them in moments of contemplative rest or idle activity, or contently absorbed in performing the day's chores and set in colorful gardens or scenic riverside settings. These pleasing scenes of rural life proved highly popular among nineteenth century collectors both in France and abroad, and began to bring him the fortune and renown he would continue to enjoy.

    From 1896, Knight established a home and studio outside Paris in Rolleboise, and drew his subjects and inspiration from the surrounding countryside. Knight not only painted the local people of Rolleboise, but also knew them personally and was an admired figure in the community. It was in Rolleboise that he began to paint scenes of his own garden overlooking the Seine, which would become his most sought after works.

    Young Woman Knitting is an iconic example of the artist's work on a grand scale, painted with a masterful sense of composition and Impressionist technique. This work features the popular artist's most beloved subject matter, the young peasant woman idly absorbed in the French countryside, a subject proven to stand the test of time in its resonance with audiences from the Victorian era through the present.

    Howard L. Rehs has confirmed the authenticity of this work and will include it in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné, which will be published by Rehs Galleries, Inc.,

    Condition Report*: This condition report was completed on 7/25/11 at Las Negras Studio, Dallas, TX by Julie Espinosa, CIPP. : The surface is plane and stable. There are slightly visible cracks that were likely reduced by the lining process. The painting has been lined to a cotton fabric support with an unknown adhesive. The original tacking edges have been removed completely. The added fabric support is durable and securely attached to wood stretcher bars with staples and the tacking edges are covered with paper tape. The wood support is a tenon - mortise stretcher with a horizontal cross bar and appears to be original to the painting and is in excellent condition. The varnish layer appears to have been tinted to mask some imperfections in the restoration. It is visible to the un-aided eye and was applied un-evenly. Under UV (ultraviolet, Black light) inspection, there are visible signs of residual varnish remaining from an incomplete cleaning which may have been the reason for the tinted varnish. There is only minimal in-painting. The signature was closely examined and is consistent with the rest of the painting and by the artist's hand, and remains under a visible layer of oxidized varnish. The old restoration is dated, but it appears to have been done nicely and the painting remains in good condition.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    8th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,441

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Nov 8, 2011 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 1 day left to consign to the 2021 October 5 Photographs Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    We are very glad that we selected Heritage - The whole Heritage Team was a pleasure to do business with!
    Richard Ash,
    Digby, Canada
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search