Jasper Francis Cropsey

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About this artist

Jasper Francis Cropsey was one of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century Hudson River school painters, known particularly for his autumnal views. Trained as an architect, he began painting in the 1840s, achieving membership in the National Academy of Design in 1844 for a painting of Greenwood Lake in an area of New Jersey he often depicted early in his career. From 1847 to 1849 Cropsey traveled throughout England and the Continent, studying and painting with other American artists in Rome, Sicily, and Fontainebleau. He sketched in New England and New York State until 1856, when he settled in London, becoming friends with John Ruskin and other notables of the English art world. The exhibition of Autumn on the Hudson, 1860 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), in the London International Exposition of 1862 brought him international success. Due to the Civil War, he returned home in 1863.

Cropsey was initially a disciple of THOMAS COLE in his vigorous paint handling and rugged scenes of stormdamaged nature. He abandoned such sublime romanticism for more serene images of nature and, made his reputation with brilliantly colored autumn scenes. In the 1850s he also painted several historical landscapes. Late in his career Cropsey turned more to the watercolor medium and helped form the American Water Color Society. His fascination with vivid hues continued throughout his career and contributed, along with his work in watercolors, to the somewhat luminist quality of his late landscapes. He also returned to architecture, designing his own home in Warwick, New York. He wrote a few articles, the most notable being "Up among the Clouds," for The Crayon.

Jasper F. Cropsey, "Up among the Clouds," The Crayon 2 (August 8, 1855): 79-80 § College Park, University of Maryland Art Gallery, Jasper F Cropsey: A Retrospective View of America’s Painter of Autumn, exh. cat., 1968, with text by Peter Bermingham, bibliography § Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution, National Collection of Fine Arts, and others, Jasper F. Cropsey, 1823-1900, exh. cat., 1970, published by Smithsonian Institution Press, with text by William S. Talbot, chronology, bibliography § Yonkers, N.Y., Hudson River Museum, An Unprejudiced Eye: The Drawings of Jasper F. Cropsey, exh. cat., 1979, with text by Kenneth W. Maddox, bibliography § New-York Historical Society, jasper F. Cropsey: Artist and Architect, exh. cat., 1987, with essays by Ella M. Foshay and Barbara Finney, entries by Mishoe Brennecke, annotated bibliography of Cropsey’s library by Stephen J. Zeitz, chronology, bibliography.