Saturday, January 10, 2015


 Biography - National Gallery Of Art

                        Jasper Francis Cropsey was born February 18, 1823, on his father's farm in Rossville, Staten Island, New York. He was the eldest of eight children in a family descended from Dutch and French Huguenot immigrants.

                        In 1837, at the age of fourteen, Cropsey won a diploma at the Mechanics Institute Fair of the City of New York for a model house that he built. That same year he was apprenticed to the architect Joseph Trench for a five year period. After eighteen months, Cropsey, who had shown an early proficiency in drawing, found himself responsible for nearly all of the office's finished renderings. Impressed with his talents, his employer provided him with paints, canvas, and a space in which to study and perfect his artistic skills. During this period Cropsey took lessons in watercolor from an Englishman, Edward Maury, and was encouraged and advised by American genre painters William T. Ranney (1813-1857) and William Sidney Mount (1807-1868). It was in 1843 that Cropsey first exhibited a painting at the National Academy of Design, a landscape titled Italian Composition, probably based on a print, which was quite well received. He was elected an associate member of that institution the following year and a full member in 1851.

                     After leaving Trench's office in 1842 and while supporting himself by taking commissions for architectural designs, Cropsey had begun to make landscape studies from nature. A two-week sketching trip to New Jersey resulted in two paintings of Greenwood Lake that were shown at the American Art Union in 1843. It was during one of his several subsequent trips to Greenwood Lake that the artist met Maria Cooley, to whom he was married in May 1847. The couple left for an extensive European tour immediately thereafter. After traveling in Britain for the summer, the Cropseys spent the next year among the colony of American artists settled in Rome.

                  Upon his return to the United States in 1849, Cropsey first visited the White Mountains and later took a studio in New York City from which he traveled in the summers through New York State, Vermont, and New Hampshire. When sales of his works were low, as they sometimes were in these early days, he would teach to supplement his income. The only one of his pupils to gain substantial recognition, however, was the landscape painter David Johnson (1827-1908).

              In June 1856 Cropsey and his wife sailed for England for the second time and soon thereafter settled into a studio at Kensington Gate in London. There the couple established an active social life, counting among their friends John Ruskin, Lord Lyndhurst, and Sir Charles Eastlake. Cropsey executed commissions for pictures of English landmarks for patrons in the United States, and painted scenes of America for a British audience. In museums and galleries he was exposed to the naturalistic landscapes of John Constable and the Romantic paintings of J.M.W. Turner. At this time he also explored and recorded the Dorset Coast and the Isle of Wight.

           Cropsey returned to America in 1863 and shortly thereafter visited Gettysburg to record the battlefield's topography in a painting. He began to accept architectural commissions once again and produced his best known design, the ornate cast and wrought iron "Queen Anne" style passenger stations (begun 1876) of the Gilbert Elevated Railway along New York's Sixth Avenue. For himself, beginning in 1866, Cropsey built a twenty-nine room mansion in Warwick, New York. He was forced to sell this home in 1884 but was able to purchase a house at Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, to which he added a handsome studio. Today the site, called Ever Rest, is maintained as a museum by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation.

           For fifteen years Cropsey continued to paint in his home on the Hudson. Although he exhibited regularly at the National Academy of Design, his realistic, meticulously detailed, and dramatically composed scenes were eclipsed in popularity by the smaller-scale, softer, mood-evoking landscapes of Barbizon inspired painters such as George Inness (1825-1894). After suffering a stroke in 1893 Cropsey, a founder of the American Society of Painters in Watercolor (later the American Watercolor Society), turned increasingly to this medium, painting both in watercolor and oil until his death in Hastings-on-Hudson on June 22, 1900.


Biography - Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York

By Tiffany Win

I. Biography
II. Chronology
III. Collections
IV. Exhibitions
V. Memberships
VI. Notes
VII. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

Jasper Francis Cropsey was born on February 18, 1823 in Rossville, Staten Island, New York. Known to family and friends as “Frank,” the young boy worked on the farm in the summer and attended school in the winter. Growing up in a rural environment meant the artist had little to no exposure to pictures or art. From his youth, he was weak-bodied and suffered illnesses which kept him from full year schooling. He may have taken up drawing to pass the time, and the margins of his notes are littered with sketches of landscape and architecture. He received his diploma in 1837 from the Mechanics Institute of the City of New York, and soon after entered a five year apprenticeship in Joseph Trench’s architectural office in New York. Cropsey’s employer encouraged him to venture into watercolor and oil by giving him supplies and providing his private office as a studio before and after work.

Cropsey left Trench’s office in 1842 and continued to complete architectural commissions, such as two churches. Upon completion of the projects in 1843, Cropsey used the funds for a two week sketching trip to New Jersey and Greenwood Lake, a subject which would reappear in his body of work for many years. His earliest known work is a wash drawing of Greenwood Lake entitled The Nameless River (1843, Cleveland Museum of Art) which was the basis for an oil painting of 1845, View of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey (M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California).

Cropsey’s dedication to nature was evident in his painitngs as well as his proclamation in an 1845 essay for the New York Art Union entitled “Natural Art,” in which he notes nature’s “great power” and describes that the best poetry and paintings are “their nearest approaches to nature.”[1] Cropsey also gave the piece of advice to study from nature to the young painter George Inness. His own precise observation of nature frequently led to fine topographical drawings which then found their way into his paintings, both in landscapes and a few allegorical pieces as well.

Upon his marriage to Maria Cooley in May 1847, the two embarked on a two year long honeymoon and artistic tour of England and Italy, an important tradition for American landscape painters who wished to see and draw famous historical landmarks. Cropsey’s faithfulness to nature led to rave reviews of his pictures featured in the National Academy’s exhibition in the same year, and critics were confident that he could avoid the corrupting influence of foreign styles after his trip. Cropsey’s mission was to represent a landscape in a style commensurate with its uniqueness fueled by a love of American nature.

Cropsey’s landscapes demonstrate his interest in the particular effects of atmosphere, weather, and cloud formations and his desire to capture both the visual and affective qualities of the changing seasons. The undisputed beauty and infinite variety of natural scenes in America inspired Cropsey and other Hudson River School artists of his generation to observe it closely, explore, make sketches, and ultimately, canonize it in large-scale paintings.[2]

His primary attention throughout his career was directed at native landscapes, and his frequent sketching trips attest to his industry in gathering materials; dated drawings from 1852 indicated that his travels during the summer months ranged from the Hudson Valley through central New York State to Niagara Falls, and to central Vermont and the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. Winters, on the other hand, were spent in New York where Cropsey shared studio space with Thomas Hicks. Previous to his marriage, Cropsey taught drawing classes to artists such as David Johnson and Norton Bush.

Hoping to enhance his reputation further, Cropsey decided to set sail for England, where he stayed from 1856 to 1863. His friends there included John Ruskin, John Singleton Copley, and Daniel Huntington. Cropsey immediately began to draw the English countryside upon his arrival to London. However, because of the high demand for American scenes, Cropsey was commissioned to supply the lithographic firm of Gambert and Co. with a series of sixteen American views to be published in American Scenery, among them Summer, Lake Ontario (1856, private collection) and Autumn on the Delaware.

His largest known work to date is Autumn – On the Hudson River (1860, National Gallery of Art), which he may have begun two years prior to completion. One of his most successful pieces, the work received more attention than any of his pictures exhibited at an institution; the picture was eventually exhibited at the 1862 London Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations at which Cropsey was given a gold medal to be one of the American commissioners.[3] For Cropsey, the joyous palette of autumn color as artistic subject outweighed any moral symbolism which deemed autumn a prophet of lifeless winter. Because of its success in England, Cropsey repeated similar compositions upon his return to the States, refining his palette to create softer, more lyrical atmospheric haze. Cropsey began to frequently produce sharply drawn autumn landscapes, with lively and warm colors and subtleties in the treatment of water and details. His paint is richly and spontaneously handled, creating an open textured surface.

At the same time that he was painting soft atmospheric effects, Cropsey was also doing landscape views with an acuity of vision which strained at human means in depicting

individual details at a great distance. As Cropsey became more interested in the effects of atmosphere and sunlight, he also began to give special attention to sunrise and sunset, producing romantic interpretations of wilderness.

His best known work is Old Mill , which exhibited at the international exhibition of 1876 for America’s centennial, held in Philadelphia.[4]

Cropsey returned to architecture in 1863, mostly completing commissions for houses and street elevations. His best known designs were for the passenger stations of the Gilbert Elevated Railway along Sixth Avenue in New York, and upon purchasing 45 acres of land in Warwick, New York, he proceeded to build his Victorian mansion called Aladdin. By 1879, Cropsey was in dire financial straits due the scale of the project and the declining American art market, and unfortunately it had to be mortgaged in 1884. By June 1885, Cropsey and his family relocated to Hastings-on-Hudson. In later years, due to his failing health, Cropsey turned to watercolors, becoming a founding member of the American Water Color Society and continuously contributing to its annual exhibitions. After suffering a mild stroke in 1891, Cropsey’s works became smaller and of familiar subjects, glowing with the nostalgic serenity of a past age when a vista of American rivers, lakes, and mountains was both a religious and national symbol.

Cropsey’s vigorous drawing and bright palette distinguish him from many of his own generation. He inherited Thomas Cole’s interest in American autumn scenes yet developed brilliant paintings much closer to actuality in coloristic intensity than those of Cole. Cropsey died in 1900 of old age in his home in Hastings-on-Hudson.

II. Chronology

1823 Born on February 18th in Rossville, Staten Island
1837 Won diploma at the Mechanics’ Institute Fair for his model of a country house
1837–1842 Worked as an apprentice in Joseph Trench’s office, studied watercolor with Edward Maury, made first oil paintings, using Trench’s office as a studio
1843 Exhibited for the first time at the National Academy of Design (Landscape Composition, 1843), established own architectural practice in New York, designed a house and two churches, visited Greenwood Lake, New Jersey, in autumn
1844 Elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design for View in Orange County With Greenwood Lake In The Distance, 1844
1845 Wrote essay “Natural Art” for the Art Union, summered in Connecticut where he met George Inness
1847 Married Maria Cooley, sailed for England, arrived in Italy in September, settled in Thomas Cole’s former studio in Rome
1848 Summered at the coast of southern Italy
1849 Returned to the United States
1850 Gave art lessons
1851 Elected an Academician by the National Academy of Design, became interested in literary and allegorical paintings, executed Spirit of War and Spirit of Peace
1852–1855 Went on sketching trips to the White Mountains, Niagara Falls, Canada, and Michigan
1854 Visited Newport, elected Honorary Professional member of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
1856 Sailed for England, established a studio there, befriended John Ruskin, Daniel Huntington, and Sir Charles Eastlake
1862 Appointed to the American Commission of the London Exposition and received a medal from Queen Victoria for his services
1863 Returned to New York, visited Gettysburg to witness the aftermath of the Civil War, resumed architectural practice
1867 Became one of the founders of the American Water Color Society
1869 Completed construction of his home and studio, Aladdin, near Warwick, NY, began to summer there and winter in New York
1878 Designed passenger stations for the Gilbert Elevated Railway in New York
1879 Designed the decorations for the drill room of the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York
1885 Sold Aladdin, bought home in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and added a studio, named it Ever Rest
1885–1900 Painted mainly Hudson River scenes and worked increasingly in watercolor, continued to exhibit at the National Academy of Design and the American Water Color Society
1900 Died on June 22nd at Ever Rest

III. Collections

Addison Gallery of American Art, MA
Albany Institute of History and Art, NY
Allen Art Museum, OH
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, ME
Brigham Young University Museum of Art, UT
Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Butler Institute of American Art, OH
Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY
Canton Museum of Art, OH
Carnegie Museum of Art, PA
Chrysler Museum, VA
Cleveland Museum of Art, OH
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Currier Gallery of Art, NH
Hudson River Museum, NY
Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
Joslyn Art Museum, NE
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Mattatuck Museum, CT
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN
Museum of the City of New York, NY
Museum of the National Academy of Design, NY
North Carolina Museum of Art, NC
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Muesum of Fine Arts, TX
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Newington Cropsey Foundation, NY
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, PA
Princeton University Art Museum, NJ
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, NC
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, NY
Sheldon Museum of Art, NE
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, VT
Newark Museum, NJ
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain
Timken Museum of Art, CA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Toleda Museum of Art, OH
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VA
Westmoreland Museum of American Art, PA
Wichita Art Museum, KS

IV. Exhibitions

1843 National Academy of Design
1853 Industry of All Nations
1862 London Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations
1867 Universal Exposition in Paris
1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia
1881–86 Boston Art Club
1897 Art Institute of Chicago

V. Memberships

American Water Color Society, founding member
Artists’ Aid Society
Artists’ Fund Society
Century Club
Lotos Club
National Academy of Design
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Union League Club, founding member

VI. Suggested Resources

1. Falk, Peter H. Who was who in American art: compiled from the original thirty-four volumes of American art annual--Who's who in art, biographies of American artists active from 1898–1947. Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1985.
2. Foshay, Ella M., Barbara Finney, Mishoe Brennecke. Jasper F. Cropsey: Artist and Architect. New York: New-York Historical Society, 1987.
3. Talbot, William S. Jasper F. Cropsey 1823–1900. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1970.

VII. Notes

1. William S. Talbot, Jasper F. Cropsey 1823–1900 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Insitution Press, 1970), 17.
2. Ella M. Foshay, Barbara Finney, Mishoe Brennecke, Jasper F. Cropsey: Artist and Architect (New York: New-York Historical Society, 1987), 26.
3. Talbot, 86.
4. Ibid, 38.


Sotheby's 2014


LOT SOLD. 40,625 USD



LOT SOLD. 215,000 US


LOT SOLD. 18,750
Sotheby's 2013


Estimate  30,000 — 50,000


LOT SOLD. 68,750 


LOT SOLD. 28,125 


LOT SOLD. 28,125 
Sotheby's 2009

1823 - 1900

Estimate 14,000 — 18,000



Sold for:

Sold for:


Christie's 2014



Christie's 2013 


Christie's 2012 

Christie's 2011


Christie's 2007


Christie's 2004

Christie's 2000



Christie's 1999


Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, New York, New York

 Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)

Autumn Landscape, 1885
Oil on canvas
6⅞ x 13 5/16 inches
Signed and dated lower right: J. F. Cropsey / 1885.


Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)
Coastal Scene in Newport, Rhode Island
Oil on board
12 5/16 x 19 5/16 inches

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)
In the White Mountains, 1862
Oil on canvas
15 x 24 inches
Signed and dated lower right: J. F. Cropsey / 1862

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)
Autumn Sunset, 1895
Oil on canvas
12 1/16 x 20⅛ inches
Dated and signed lower right: 1895 / J. F. Cropsey

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)
Autumn Landscape, 1889
Oil on canvas
12 3/16 x 20¼ inches
Signed and dated lower right: J. F. Cropsey / 1889

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)
Landscape with Cows near Warwick, New York, 1885
Oil on canvas
14¼ x 26⅛ inches
Signed and dated lower left: J. F. Cropsey / 1885 

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823–1900)
An October Morning, 1891
Oil on canvas
12 1/16 x 20⅛ inches
Signed and dated lower right: J. F. Cropsey / 1891; on stretcher bar: An October Morning / By J. F. Cropsey N. A. / Hastings upon Hudson / N.Y. 1891 

Menconi + Schoelkopf


Jasper F. Cropsey
Greenwood Lake, 1871
Oil on canvas
18 1/8 x 30 1/8 inches
46 x 76.5 cm
Signed and dated at lower left center: J. F. Cropsey 1871
[Feragil Galleries, New York]; to
Anton Schutz, Scarsdale, New York, in 1940; to
His son, Herbert D. Schutz; by gift to
Private collection, Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1980, until the present
Greenwood Lake, which straddles the states of New Jersey and New York, was a frequent subject for Cropsey. He began visiting the southern part of the lake in western New Jersey in the summer of 1843, and he met and married his wife, Maria Cooley, who lived with her family there. On the merits of a painting titled A View of Orange Co., with Greenwood Lake in the Distance, he was elected an Associate Member of the National Academy in 1844, when he was a mere 21 years old. Throughout his career Cropsey returned to this idyllic area to create some of his most beautiful and luminist canvases, usually depicting the view in autumn, which became his signature season. In writing about the locale, Kenneth W. Maddox noted: “I suspect the view is from the southwest corner of Greenwood Lake looking north. While the foreground was probably fabricated by the artist, the rest of the composition closely resembles Cropsey’s Greenwood Lake views from this area” [Letter, Menconi & Schoelkopf archives]. Cropsey’s work from the 1850s, 1860s, and early 1870s is generally considered to be his finest, where he combined meticulous brushwork with a luminist palette. The clear light in his paintings from these decades describes and transforms the landscape, enveloping the scene in a brilliant sunrise or sunset. As with many of his fellow Hudson River School artists, however, his later work shows the influence of French Barbizon paintings, which were shown in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. As a result, American artists, wanting to work in the latest style, adopted the more muted colors and softer, blurred edges of their French counterparts. This painting will be included in the catalogue raisonne of the artist, now in preparation by Kenneth W. Maddox, Ph.D., to be published by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation.