Catalog Essay | September 17, 2020 | Lot 119
Jasper Cropsey trained as an architect, a profession which he exercised at various times throughout his life, but he turned to painting full-time in 1843. He soon became one of the leading landscape painters of the Hudson River School and was widely regarded as "America’s painter of autumn."
Following his marriage to Maria Cooley in 1847, Cropsey and his wife traveled to Europe on a Grand Tour until 1849. In Rome, Cropsey moved into the studio formerly occupied by Thomas Cole, an artist who influenced him greatly from the start of his career. On his return to America, he opened a studio in New York and traveled throughout New England to paint.
Cropsey returned once again to Europe and lived in England from 1856 to 1863. During this time, he enjoyed the same success he had in America and in 1862 completed one of the most ambitious landscapes of his career, Autumn on the Hudson River, now in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
On his return to America in 1863, Cropsey’s paintings illustrated his admiration for the luminist aesthetic inspired by the natural splendor around him. That same year, he built a Victorian-style residence named “Aladdin” next to Greenwood Lake, situated in a 45-acre property near Warwick, New York. This became the location and inspiration for many of his paintings in the 1860s, which illustrate his masterful fluency in depicting the Hudson River Valley in all its natural splendor.
The Hudson River Valley, and the artist’s later retirement locale in Hastings-on-Hudson, where he began painting the Palisades and the rocky outcroppings on the Hudson’s West Bank, were considered by the artist to be "one of the finest passages of scenery of the river." Autumn, with its rich colors, was a favored season among many 19th century American landscape painters. Cropsey specialized in painting the fall for half a century, and devoted himself almost exclusively to that theme in his later career.
The painting offered here depicts the Delaware River in Autumn with warm sunlight and reflections, it is a fine work from this period and represents the rich colors and atmosphere Cropsey was best known for.