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Peasant Girl

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Peasant Girl

Artist: Daniel Ridgway Knight (American, 1840-1924; active in France)

Date: 1881
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Overall: 14 1/2 × 10 5/8in. (36.8 × 27cm)
Signed: Lr:'D.Ridgway Knight, Paris 1881'
Credit Line: Proctor Collection
Object number: PC. 67
Label Text
The Philadelphia-born artist Daniel Ridgway Knight traveled to France in the early 1870s. He soon began painting "plein-air" figure and genre scenes in the manner of his idols, the French painters Jules Breton, Léon Lhermitte and Jules Bastien-Lepage. Knight quickly gained fame for his pictures of French peasants. A principal reason for his commercial success among American collectors like the Proctors, who originally owned this work, was that his pictures avoid what some people regarded as the sinister or threatening political overtones of the rural laborers painted by Gustave Courbet and Jean Francois Millet. One sympathetic critic noted, for example, that Knight "has a natural tendency to see nature under an amiable and smiling aspect, and he certainly finds . . . peasant girls far more goodly to look upon than the coarse and heavy peasants whom Millet has painted, digging and delving, toiling and moiling, resigned and joyless."

PDS - 03/04/03