Jasper Francis Cropsey

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Jasper Francis Cropsey
Jasper Francis Copsey, by Edward L. Mooney.jpg
Born(1823-02-18)February 18, 1823
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
DiedJune 22, 1900(1900-06-22) (aged 77)
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.
EducationHudson River School
Known forLandscape art, painting

Jasper Francis Cropsey (February 18, 1823 – June 22, 1900) was an important American landscape artist of the Hudson River School.[1]

Early years[edit]

Jasper Francis Cropsey, self-portrait in The Narrows from Staten Island, 1868, detail

Cropsey was born on his father Jacob Rezeau Cropsey's farm in Rossville on Staten Island, New York, the oldest of eight children. As a young boy, Cropsey had recurring periods of poor health. While absent from school, Cropsey taught himself to draw. His early drawings included architectural sketches and landscapes drawn on notepads and in the margins of his schoolbooks.


Trained as an architect, he set up his own office in 1843. Cropsey studied watercolor and life drawing at the National Academy of Design under the instruction of Edward Maury and first exhibited there in 1844. A year later he was elected an associate member and turned exclusively to landscape painting; shortly after he was featured in an exhibition entitled "Italian Compositions".

Cropsy traveled in Europe from 1847–1849, visiting England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. He was elected a full member of the Academy in 1851. Cropsey was a personal friend of Henry Tappan, the president of the University of Michigan from 1852 to 1863. At Tappan's invitation, he traveled to Ann Arbor in 1855 and produced two paintings, one of the Detroit Observatory, and a landscape of the campus.[2] He went abroad again in 1856, and resided seven years in London, sending his pictures to the Royal Academy and to the International exhibition of 1862.

Jasper Francis Cropsey - Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania, 1865

Returning home, he opened a studio in New York and specialized in autumnal landscape paintings of the northeastern United States, often idealized and with vivid colors. Cropsey co-founded, with ten fellow artists, the American Society of Painters in Water Colors in 1866.

Hudson River School[edit]

By the Sea, Lulworth, 1857

Cropsey's interest in architecture continued throughout his life and was a strong influence in his painting, most evident in his precise arrangement and outline of forms. But Cropsey was best known for his lavish use of color and, as a first-generation member from the Hudson River School, painted autumn landscapes that startled viewers with their boldness and brilliance. As an artist, he believed landscapes were the highest art form and that nature was a direct manifestation of God. He also felt a patriotic affiliation with nature and saw his paintings as depicting the rugged and unspoiled qualities of America.

Jasper Cropsey died in anonymity but was rediscovered by galleries and collectors in the 1960s. Today, Cropsey's paintings are found in many major American museums, including the National Gallery of Art,[3] the North Carolina Museum of Art,[4] the Currier Museum of Art,[5] the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,[6] the University of Michigan Museum of Art,[7] the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley,[8] the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[9] the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,[10] the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art,[11] the Detroit Institute of Arts,[12] the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego,[13] the Honolulu Museum of Art,[14] the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco,[15] the Princeton University Art Museum,[16] and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Works by Cropsey also hang in the White House.[17] Cropsey and his wife Maria are buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.[18]


Some of his works include Jedburgh Abbey; Pontaine Marshes (1847); Backwoods of America (1857);[11] Richmond Hill (1862); Indian Summer (1866);[12] Greenwood Lake (1875); Lake Nemi in Italy (1879); Old Church at Arreton, Isle of Wight (1880); Ramapo Valley (1881); Autumn on the Hudson (1860): Wawayanda Valley (1883); Spring-time in England (1884); October in Ramapo Valley (1885); Autumn on Lake George, and A Showery Day (1886).

His architectural works included Manhattan brownstones, the since-demolished 14th Street station for the IRT Sixth Avenue Line in Manhattan, and St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Staten Island.[19]

Some of Cropsey's painting command high prices at auctions. Greenwood Lake (1879) sold at Christie's auction in 2012 for $422,500.[20] Sunset, Camel's Hump, Lake Champlain (1877) sold for $314,500 in 2011.[21]


Cropsey's home and studio, Ever Rest, in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, has the largest permanent collection of Cropsey's work, collected by great-granddaughter Barbara Newington. The collection has been on display since 1977 and the founding of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Cropsey married Maria Cooley in May 1847. He had met her during one of his visits to Greenwood Lake after 1843. Maria's father, Isaac P. Cooley, was a justice of the peace from 1837 to 1839 and became a judge over the New Jersey Court of Common Pleas in 1840.[23] Cooley then became a member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from 1860 to 1861.[24] Cooley offered to build Cropsey a studio on his estate but the offer was declined. In 1869 Cropsey built a 29-room Gothic Revival mansion and studio in Warwick, New York that he named Aladdin. As well as living in New York City, he spent part of his time in Warwick until the mansion was sold in 1884.

In 1884 Cropsey first rented then in 1885 bought a house at Hastings-on-Hudson, New York he named Ever Rest. He and Maria had two children: Mary Cortelyou Cropsey Howells (b. September. 5, 1850, d. July 30, 1921)[25] and Lilly Frances Cropsey (b. July 16, 1859, d. February 21, 1889). Cropsey lived at Ever Rest until his death on June 22, 1900, and his wife Maria lived there until she died in 1906, having been married to "Frank" for 54 years.[26][27]

Legacy and honors[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cropsey, Jasper Francis" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 502.
  2. ^ "People Who Shaped The Detroit Observatory". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved November 8, 2009.
  3. ^ "James McCullough's Leadmill". www.nga.gov. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  4. ^ "Eagle Cliff, Franconia Notch, New Hampshire – NCMALearn". learn.ncartmuseum.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  5. ^ "Jasper Cropsey". Currier Museum. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "Jasper F. Cropsey, "Landscape with Figures near Rome " (1847)". PAFA - Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. December 28, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  7. ^ "Exchange: University of Michigan". exchange.umma.umich.edu. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  8. ^ "View on the Hudson River | The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley". www.themsv.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  9. ^ "The Valley of Wyoming". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  10. ^ "Pioneer's Home, Eagle Cliff, White Mountains | LACMA Collections". collections.lacma.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "The Backwoods of America – Works – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art". Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Indian Summer". www.dia.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "Work of the Week | Timken Museum". www.timkenmuseum.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "Green Mountain Scenery". art.honolulumuseum.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  15. ^ "The Gates of the Hudson - Jasper Francis Cropsey". FAMSF Search the Collections. May 8, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "Morning (y1984-31)". artmuseum.princeton.edu. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  17. ^ "Autumn Landscape on the Hudson River". library.whitehousehistory.org. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  18. ^ "Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) - Find A Grave..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  19. ^ Smith, Roberta (August 28, 1998). "Critic's Notebook; Home Is Where the Easel and Quirks Are". The New York Times. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  20. ^ "Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900) Greenwood Lake". Christie's. November 18, 2012.
  21. ^ Art history: Jasper Francis Cropsey auctions- Retrieved August 28, 2017
  22. ^ Newington-Cropsey Foundation- Reviewed August 28, 2017
  23. ^ History of Bergen and Passaic Counties- Retrieved August 28, 2017
  24. ^ Isaac P. Cooley: New Jersey state house of assembly- Retrieved August 28, 2017
  25. ^ Carey Hand Funeral Home Records, Orange County, Florida; Vol. 3, October 13, 1920 - March 11, 1922, (p. 222)- Retrieved August 28, 2017
  26. ^ "Death of J. F. Cropsey". New-York Tribune. June 23, 1900. p. 14. Retrieved April 19, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Newington-Cropsey Foundation- Retrieved August 28, 2017


External links[edit]