Shortly after Joseph Day Knap
was born in Scotdale, Pennsylvania in 1875, his family moved
to New York City where he lived for the rest of his life.
There was also a family home in Catskill, New York, on the
Hudson River. Although Mr. Knap was lame all his life, he
liked all sports and participated in many, such as golf, tennis
and sailing. Duck hunting was his favorite pastime, however,
and he hunted along the Hudson every fall from an early age
until the late 1940's when he was no longer able.
His artwork was a natural outgrowth
of this consuming interest, and although he had little formal
art training, he worked at it constantly and developed his
own technique. It was always a hobby, not a profession. His
business was real estate. He married in 1910 and had one son
who bears the same name.
In 1924, at the insistence of
one of his hunting companions, he first exhibited his watercolors
at the Ackerman Galleries in New York and met with almost
Most of his work was done in
watercolor, but he did make two sets of etchings. One of these
sets was composed of five etchings entitled Marsh Pools, Dropping
Down, Three Mallards, Rice Flats, and Scaling, They were limited
to 100 signed proofs each, and the plates were destroyed.
Two sets of hand-colored prints
were produced from his original paintings, and in the mid-1950's
the American Artists group began using reproductions of his
paintings on some of their Christmas cards. Over the years
they have used over 15 different pictures and are still publishing
Mr. Knap's paintings were exhibited
in many cities: New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, Detroit,
London, and others. They were also hung at the Grand Central
Galleries and at The Museum of Natural History, both in New
Mr. Knap was extremely interested in Ducks Unlimited, Inc.,
and for some 20 years he donated an original painting to each
annual dinner of the organization in New York. These were
auctioned off with the proceeds going to D. U. to be used
for waterfowl conservation purposes. He designed several of
their membership certificates and his paintings were frequently
used in their magazine.
Besides watercolors and etchings,
Mr. Knap did some writing about duck hunting. His first published
stories were in Outing magazine sometime between 1900 and
1910. Later he began to illustrate his stories with paintings
or pen-and-ink drawings. Between 1926 and 1929 he did several
covers and illustrated and wrote lead stories for Forest and
Stream magazine. Spur magazine carried two of his paintings
at one time.
Mr. Knap died in January 1962.