Jasper Francis Cropsey, an American landscape artist of the Hudson River School, was born on February 18, 1823 in Staten Island, New York. During his childhood, Cropsey had recurring periods of poor health; he taught himself to draw while absent from school. He drew architectural sketches and landscapes on notepads and in the margins of his schoolbooks.
At the age of 13 Jasper Cropsey created and submitted a winning scale model of a country house to the annual exhibition of the Mechanics’ Institute in New York City. This model brought youth attention to Joseph Trench, a New York architect, with whom he later served a five year apprenticeship. Trench encouraged Cropsey to embellish his architectural drawings with landscape backgrounds and figures. Trench also enabled Cropsey to study drawing with landscape painter Edward Maury.
Under the instruction of Edward Maury, Cropsey studied watercolor and life drawing at the National Academy of Design. His interest in architecture was a strong influence in his painting, evident in his precise arrangement and outline of forms, however Cropsey was best known for his lavish use of color. He admired landscape painter Thomas Cole, from whom he adopted a colorful palette and romantic treatment of subject matter. Jasper Cropsey was a first-generation member from the Hudson River School who saw his paintings as depicting the rugged and unspoiled qualities of America. He was a famed artist in both England and the United States, and was best known for his views of American scenery.
The peak of his career was the creation of a nine-foot-long canvas of a New York autumn. On June 22, 1900, Jasper Cropsey died at Hastings-on-Hudson home. The home preserved as a center for the study of Cropsey and his art.