Jasper Francis Cropsey
(1823 - 1900)

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Jasper Francis Cropsey was both a practicing architect and an exhibitor at the National Academy of Design by the age of twenty. His first submission, entitled Landscape Composition from 1843 “created some surprise among the artists. It was so much beyond their inferior works that they hung it in a very favorable place, with [Thomas] Cole and [Asher B.] Durand for its companions” (1). His talents developed during his five-year apprenticeship under New York architect Joseph Trench, where he received instruction in painting landscapes as backgrounds to the firm’s architectural designs (2). He returned to his family on Staten Island in 1842 and, unable to secure any architectural commissions, he turned to painting landscape subjects of his native New York, and nearby New Jersey. During a two-year European sojourn from 1847-1849, he began experimenting with marine painting in the Italian coastal towns of Amalfi and Capri.

Cropsey is most popularly known for his keenly observed and panoramic views of America, imbued with a sense of serenity and drenched in sun, but he exhibited a rich diversity of styles and subject matter over the course of his career. From intimate botanical studies to crisply rendered allegorical scenes, his accuracy in the description of nature and interest in architectural form remained constant. Even as younger artists began to popularize Tonalism and Impressionism towards the end of the century, Cropsey’s work remained consistent with the canons of the Hudson River School. He died at his home in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York in 1900.

 

1. Jasper Francis Cropsey, Reminiscences of My Own Time, 1846. Unpublished manuscript.

2. William S. Talbot, Jasper Francis Cropsey: 1823-1900 (New York and London: Garland, 1977) 21.



 

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