Jasper Francis Cropsey
Jasper Francis Cropsey was born on February 18th, 1823, on his father’s farm in Rossville, Staten Island, New York. The eldest of eight children, Cropsey suffered sever childhood illness, and taught himself to draw and construct wooden architectural models. When Cropsey was fourteen, his model home eared an award at the Mechanics Institute Fair of the City of New York and an apprenticeship with architect Joseph Trench. Trench encouraged Cropsey by buying him canvas and paint, and providing him with a small studio space. Cropsey also took watercolor lessons from Edward Maury and was advised by American genre painters William T. Ranney (1813-1857) and William Sidney Mount (1807-1868). In 1843, Cropsey exhibited his first painting at the National Academy of Design. Cropsey left Trench’s office in 1842 and began making landscape studies while supporting himself through architectural design commissions. He met many Hudson River School painters on sketching excursions, including Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and George Inness. These painters goal was to portray a pure American landscape, untouched by industry and development. He met Maria Cooley, whom he married in May 1847. He and Maria toured Europe, settling in Rome, Italy for a year, where he sketched for later paintings, such as The Coast of Genoa (1854). In June of 1856, Cropsey, his wife, and two daughters settled in London. Cropsey worked on commissions of English landmarks for American patrons while painting scenes of America for his British audience. When tastes shifted towards Impressionism in 1884, he and his growing family moved to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. He became an active member of the Hudson River school, and Crospey’s landscapes reflect his interest in the influence of nature on man’s existence. Jasper Francis Cropsey died on June 22nd, 1900.