Greenwood Lake, New Jersey
Jasper Francis Cropsey was a surprisingly versatile artist. One of the foremost painters in the Hudson River School of landscape painters, he was also an architect. Born in Rossville, Staten Island, Cropsey received his early artistic training as an architect’s apprentice, where he learned oil and watercolor techniques for architectural drafting. In 1843, the young artist exhibited for the first time at the National Academy of Design with a painting titled Landscape Composition. This early training and recognition led to a long and varied career as a painter, peaking in the 1850s.
Cropsey was one of the few Hudson River School artists to take the medium of watercolor seriously. An early exhibitor with the American Watercolor Society, founded in 1866, Cropsey painted and exhibited his large-scale watercolors throughout his life. This example, painted late in life when he lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, demonstrates the enduring importance of Greenwood Lake to Cropsey, who returned to it—and depicted it— repeatedly. It was at this lake, near West Milford, New Jersey, where he met Miss Maria Cooley, who would become his wife. The pastoral scene, set in a placid landscape ablaze with fall colors, is calmly nostalgic: a pair of shepherds tend to their flock while boats float lazily on the water beyond.
Today, Cropsey’s house in Hastings-on-Hudson is preserved as part of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation.