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Artist Biography

Jasper Francis Cropsey was born on Staten Island, New York in 1823. While training as an architect, the young Cropsey received watercolor lessons from the British landscape painter Edward Maury, and his success with the medium encouraged him to graduate to oils. At the age of twenty he exhibited work at the National Academy of Design, and soon set up a studio on Greenwood Lake, the inspiration for many of his picturesque compositions. His first trip abroad was on his honeymoon in 1847. In Europe, he was able to practice what he had preached two years earlier in an address presented to the New York Art Union: “[Let the artist go view] that solemn grandeur that pervades the air, at evening, the unimaginable effects of light and shadow, and the great harmony of color existing everywhere”.

Throughout Europe and then around his home in the Hudson River Valley, Cropsey sketched and painted romanticized, arcadian views of the countryside. He gained an international reputation for his sun-drenched, autumnal scenes; he was even received by Queen Victoria, based on the popularity of his work Autumn on the Hudson River. Cropsey was celebrated by critics from early on in his career because of his vibrant landscapes, in the manner of Hudson River greats Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, that were popular with contemporary collectors.

His work is housed in The White House, Washington, DC; Hermitage Museum, Russia; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; Mead Art Museum, Amherst, MA; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Peabody Institute, Baltimore, MD; and many other notable institutions.

Jasper Francis Cropsey, Address on Natural Art, August 24, 1845