Jasper Francis Cropsey Biography
(February 18, 1823 - April 23, 1900)
Cropsey was an important American landscape artist of the Hudson River School.
Cropsey was born on his father Jasper 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. Cropsey's early drawings included architectural sketches and landscapes drawn on notepads and in the margins of his schoolbooks.
Trained as an architect, Cropsey set up his own office in 1843. Cropsey studied watercolor and life drawing at the National Academy of Design and first exhibited paintings at there in 1844. A year later Cropsey was elected an associate member and turned exclusively to landscape painting in the 1840s, shortly after he was featured in an exhibition entitled "Italian Compositions." Cropsey married Maria Cooley in May 1847, traveled in Europe from 1847-1849, was elected a full member of the Academy in 1851, and lived in England 1856-1863. During this time Cropsey specialized in autumnal landscape paintings of the northeastern United States, often idealized and with vivid colors. Cropsey cofounded the American Society of Painters in Water Colors in 1867.
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 landscape paintings that startled viewers with their boldness and brilliance. As an artist, Cropsey believed landscapes were the highest art form and that nature was a direct manifestation of God. Cropsey 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 paintings are found in most major American museums, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Denver Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.Oil paintings by Cropsey also hang in the White House.
Cropsey’s home and studio, "Ever Rest", in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York may be toured by appointment. Cropsey and his wife Maria are buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.