Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1839-1924) Girl in harvest field 46 x 35 1/2in (116.8 x 90.2cm)

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 23W
Daniel Ridgway Knight
(American, 1839-1924)
Girl in harvest field 46 x 35 1/2in (116.8 x 90.2cm)

Sold for US$ 81,325 inc. premium
Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1839-1924)
Girl in harvest field
signed, inscribed and dated 'Ridgway Knight / Paris 1887' (lower right)
oil on canvas
46 x 35 1/2in (116.8 x 90.2cm)


  • Provenance
    Boussod Valadon & Co., Paris, titled "Girl in Harvest Field";
    M. Knoedler & Co., New York (#5907), 30 September 1887, ff5000, titled "Girl in Harvest Field";
    A.T. Goshron, Cinncinati, Ohio, 20 December 1888, $1,400;
    M. Knoedler & Co., New York (#6253), 1 February 1889, returned for credit, titled "Across the Fields";
    R. L. Cutler, Brooklyn, New York, 7 February 1889, $1,350;
    Private collection, Santa Barbara;
    Sale, Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, 11 June 1987, lot 2614;
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Born to a Quaker family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1839, Ridgway Knight did not allow his conservative upbringing to hinder his artistic nature. At nineteen, Knight enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts, where Mary Cassat and Thomas Eakins were his colleagues, but after three years he sailed to Paris to continue his studies in the studios of Charles Gleyre and Alexandre Cabanel. There he met and befriended Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley with whom he maintained a life-long relationship.

    In 1863, Knight made the decision to return to America and fight in the looming Civil War. As a Philadelphia native, Knight felt a strong obligation to enlist in the war efforts and protect his native city. While serving with the Union Army through 1865, Knight continued to sketch and draw his surroundings, creating a personal testimony of his wartime experience. Following the war, Knight remained in the United States until 1871 when he married Rebecca Webster, one of his students. They returned to France that same year and Knight entered the studio of Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, whose connections would grant the artist entry to the Paris Salon.

    By 1873, Knight was living with his family in Poissy, west of Paris, where he lived alongside the local peasants and farm hands, which he from then on exclusively painted. Whether these figures were performing their daily duties or taking a wistful moment between tasks, Knight captured the essence of these figures with such grace that he was often accused of romanticizing their position in life. When questioned in 1888 about the sentimentality and romantic notions Knight had for the peasants he depicted, he is famously remembered as stating: "These peasants are as happy and content as any similar class in the world. They all save money and are small capitalists and investors. They enjoy life. They work hard, to be sure, but plenty of people do that. They love their native soil. In their hours of ease they have countless diversions; and the women know how to be merry in their hours of toil." (P. Beecher, A Pastoral Legacy: Daniel Ridgway Knight & Louis Aston Knight, n.p.)

    The present painting bears a striking resemblance to Jules Breton's many gleaners, solitary figures at the edge of a field, heading home at the end of the work day. The Realist painter from Artois, along with Jean Francois Millet, had paved the way decades before for the acceptance of the peasantry into the artistic repertoire of the 19th century, which Ridgway Knight gladly adopted. The young girl is graciously silhouetted against the golden wheat stalks, her rosy cheeks contrasting the dark colors of her dress and general earthy colors of the composition. Her elegance and beauty denote an idealistic vision of rural life that Knight had maintained until the end of his life.

    We are grateful to Howard L. Rehs for confirming the authenticity of the work based on first-hand inspection and for providing additional cataloguing information. The work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of the artist's oeuvre as number SF1310. A photo certificate will accompany this lot.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins and Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, Wine & Whisky

27.5% on the first $12,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $12,500 up to and including $600,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $600,000 up to and including $6,000,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of $6,000,000.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card for returning clients only. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
W Shipping & handling restrictions apply

If the lot is not picked up immediately following the auction it may be removed to an offsite storage location for collection. Please contact the salesroom location for further details including dates of removal and applicable charges.