Saturday In The Museum With Daniel

Image: Daniel Ridgway Knight, In Winter (1880).

Our Saturday art posts this year focus on the origins and paths that food takes to get to the table. This weekend, we found a painting that displays the limited bounty of winter produce.

In Winter is by an American artist who moved to France after the Civil War. Daniel Ridgway Knight was born in Pennsylvania in 1839 and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he was a classmate of Mary Cassatt and Thomas Eakins. He briefly studied at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but returned to serve in the Union Army. After the war, he married and saved funds to return to France, which he did in in 1872. Once there he fell in with Renoir, Sisley, Wordsworth, and Meissonier. His work began to draw critical attention. He was also influenced Jean-Francois Millet, who focused on rural life. Unlike Millet, Knight tended to capture the happier moments. He died in Paris on March 9, 1924.

This piece was bought by an American collector soon after it was painted, and it stayed in the family’s hands for over a century. In 2018, it was put up for auction and appears to be back in private hands. For those of us who shop the farmers markets through the winter months, the basket of root vegetables and greens is a familiar sight.


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