Biography: Born in Wisconsin, Knaths studied at the Milwaukee Art Institute and worked as a set painter for the Wisconsin Players before he began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. When the 1913 Armory Show came through Chicago, he worked as a guard there, observing the modern art and coming to admire Paul Cézanne in particular.
He moved east, served in World War I, and settled in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Knaths' mature style combined elements of Cubism with dark outlines and bold colors and recognizable subject matter. In the 1930s he worked under the auspices of federal government programs, including the WPA, and painted a mural in the Rehoboth Beach post office. Knaths won many prizes and exhibited widely over his long career. His primary dealer was Paul Rosenberg & Co. in New York. Knaths' work is major collections across the United States. Duncan Phillips was one of his major patrons.