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 Louis Aston Knight  (1873 - 1948)

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Lived/Active: New York/California / France      Known for: landscape-riverine, streets-genre

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Ad Code: 2
Louis Aston Knight
from Auction House Records.
A Cottage Along a River
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Paris, France on Aug. 3, 1873 of American parents. Knight studied in his native city under Lefebvre, Robert-Fleury, and with his father, D. R. Knight. While in San Francisco in 1925, he stayed at the Palace Hotel and painted cityscapes and a view of the Palace of Fine Arts. Other paintings of the Monterey Peninsula and Santa Monica are extant. Member: Rochester Art Club. Exh: Paris Expo, 1900 (medal); Paris Salon, 1901, 1905 (gold medal); Rheims Expo, 1903 (gold); Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1931; Gardena (CA) High School, 1933. In: Toledo Museum; Luxembourg Museum; Newark Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1900-33; Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (Bénézit, E); Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Rehs Galleries, Inc.:
Louis Aston Knight was the son of the American expatriate painter, Daniel Ridgway Knight. Daniel Ridgway Knight was born in America and began studying art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art. In 1872, he traveled to Paris and continued to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Thereafter, he remained in Europe, and studied in the academic studios of the Romantic Salon painters, Jules Ernst Meissonier and Charles Gleyre and the Impressionists, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. Although Ridgway Knight, spent most of his life in Europe, his American style and technique show through.

This typically American approach towards painting was to influence Louis Aston Knight as well. In 1873, Louis Aston Knight was born in Paris. Unlike his father, Aston Knight was raised and educated in Europe. Knight attended the Chigwell School in England for his Liberal Arts Education and began his artistic training, under the guidance of his father.

Later he studied formally with the great French Romantic painters, Robert Fleury and Jules Lefebvre. In 1894 Aston Knight debuted at the Paris Salon, starting a highly acclaimed career. Among his many awards, he won a Bronze medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, an honorable mention at the Paris Salon in 1901, a gold medal in Lyon in 1903, a gold medal in Geneva and in Nantes in 1904, and Gold medals at the Paris Salon in both 1905 and 1906, earning him the title Hors concours as the first American to win two gold medals at the Salon in two consecutive years.

Knight, was also made a knight of the Legion of Honor in 1924 becoming an officer in 1928 and eventually a commander in 1934.

Louis Aston Knight is most famous for his French landscapes. You will not find figures in his work, due to an agreement, which he made with his father, in order to keep their work from looking too similar. This was however unnecessary, because their work is very different. Ridgway Knight painted tightly, while Aston Knight's work shows a much stronger influence of the Impressionists with whom he was friendly.

Aston looked up to Claude Monet, and visited him from time to time at his home in Giverny. He was particularly impressed with Monet's gardens, and strove to cultivate a garden as beautiful as the master's. Knight also awarded prizes each year to the neighboring peasants who kept the nicest gardens. This insured him of good models for his cottage landscape paintings.

Gradually Aston Knight became well known in the New York art scene and began to do some of his work in the states. In 1911, Knoedler and Co., held an exhibition of his landscapes of the U.S.A. and France. His exhibition at the Levy Gallery in New York, in 1931 attracted much attention. In fact, "Art News" critiqued the show (26 December issue) and described his fame and plein-air approach: "A group of new landscapes by Aston Knight, the popular painter of the Normandy Riverscape, is the Holiday attraction at the Levy Gallery. Mr. Knight sticks closely to his well established formula, doubtless due to the tremendous acclaim acquired in his earlier years when Hopkinson Smith publicized him as the 'painter in the high rubber boots' for Mr. Knight was not content with studying the action of the Normandy streams from the comfortable banks.... used to do on a pair of waist-high rubber boots and setting up his easel in mid-stream, paint the purling waters at first hand.'

Aston Knight was a favorite of American presidents in his day.In 1922, President Harding purchased a Louis Aston Knight, to hang in the White House, and President Coolidge held a private exhibition of Knight's work during his presidency. Many of his works have had international acclaim and are housed in the art collections of the Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University; Strong Museum, Rochester, New York; and the Hudson River Museum of Westchester.

Knoedler & Co., N.Y., Dec 26, 1911 - Jan 6, 1912 Detroit Museum of Art, March 18 - 30, 1914
Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY, May 1918
John Levy Galleries, N.Y., Nov. 25 - Dec. 7, 1935.

This essay is copyrighted by Rehs Galleries, Inc. and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Rehs Galleries, Inc.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Beverly Hills:
Louis Aston Knight was the son of the successful early ex-patriot American Artist, Daniel Ridgway Knight. The younger Knight was born in Paris, and encouraged in his artistic endeavors. He was afforded study with the great French instructor Jules Lefebvre.

Beginning in 1894, Knight began exhibiting at the Paris Salon, where he earned a great many awards. A more pure Impressionist than his famous father, Louis Aston Knight was a great admirer of Claude Monet, with whom he enjoyed a friendship, and an affinity for painting en Plein Air.

Biography from Spanierman Gallery (retired):
Louis Aston Knight, renowned in both France and the United States for his vigorous plein-air landscapes, was born in Paris in 1873. He was the son of Daniel Ridgway Knight, the celebrated American expatriate artist who specialized in detailed, crisply drawn renderings of French peasant life.

Louis Aston Knight spent his boyhood years in Paris. He later attended Chigwell School in Essex, England, where he received his basic education. Intent on pursuing a career as an artist, he began his formal studies in his father's atelier. Following this, he enrolled in classes at the Académie Julian, studying figure painting under Jules Lefebvre and Tony Robert-Fleury. From his father, he inherited a love of outdoor painting as well as a direct, unidealized approach to nature. In his mature work, he successfully combined both of these tendencies with his lifelong concern for the reflections and movements of water (indeed, he is known to have once rented an old mill near Beaumont-Le-Roger in Normandy, just to study the water effects of the brook that ran through the property). In addition to views of the French countryside, Knight painted numerous garden subjects, many of them depicting the grounds at the Manoir de Chautereine, at Beaumont-Le-Roger, where he once lived.

As a resident of Paris, until his later move to New York, Louis Aston Knight participated in important exhibitions in France and throughout Europe. He was awarded a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and honorable mention at the Paris Salon of 1910. He subsequently received gold medals at Rheims, Cherbourg, Geneva, and Lyons and the salons of 1905 and 1906. Knight was also a member of the European Chapter of the American Artists Professional League, the American Club of Paris, the Cercle de l'Union Artistique, and later, the Metropolitan Club of New York. After moving to the United States, he painted the landscape around Old Mystic, Connecticut, as well as the Maine coast, and Canadian salmon rivers.

Louis Aston Knight died in New York in 1948. During his years in France, many of his works were purchased by the French government and now hang in the collections of the Luxembourg Museum and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His work was also eagerly sought by contemporary private collectors, including Presidents Tardieu and the Sultan of Morocco. In America, examples of Knight's work can be found in the collections of the Heckscher Museum, Huntington, Long Island; the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York; the Mattatuck Museum of the Mattatuck Historical Society, Waterbury, Connecticut; the Memorial Art Gallery at Rochester, New York Musées Nationaux, Paris; Newark Museum, New Jersey; Ohio Historical Society, Columbus; the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York; the Toledo Art Museum, Ohio; and Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland.


©The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery LLC, and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from Spanierman Gallery LLC nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery LLC.

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