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Jasper Francis Cropsey
Modern (19th century-1945) Painting
(Rossville, Staten Island, NY, February 18, 1823 - June 22, 1900, Hastings-on-the-Hudson, NY)
Jasper Francis Cropsey was born in Rossville, New York, the son of Jacob Rezeau and Elizabeth Hilyer (Cortelyou) Cropsey. His paternal great-grandfather came from Holland and his mother's family were French Huguenots, but his mother and father were born on Staten Island. He went to the country schools near his home, and early began the study of architecture. At the age of thirteen he received a diploma, from the Mechanics' Institute, for a well-executed model of a house. The American Institute also conferred upon him a diploma for the same model. It attracted so much attention when it was exhibited in 1837, that he was called “the boy that built the House.” It secured for him a position in the office of a successful architect, where he studied for five years, at the same time studying landscape painting with Edward Maury. In 1847 he went abroad, visiting London, Paris, Switzerland, and Italy, spending much time in Rome and in traveling with W. W. Story and C. P. Cranch. In 1857 he went again to Europe and lived in London for seven years, becoming a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and making many sales of his paintings. He was presented at the Court of Queen Victoria by the United States minister, Charles Francis Adams, and among his acquaintances were Ruskin and other literary personages. He was made assistant commissioner to the International Exhibition of 1862 in London and received a medal for his services. He also received a medal and diploma from the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876. He was represented there by his picture, “Old Mill,” which received an award and was engraved for the Centennial catalogue. He made illustrations for Poe's and Moore's poems. He painted a series of sixteen landscapes of American scenery for E. Gambart & Company, London publisher. He painted a picture, “The Battle of Gettysburg”, shortly after the battle. He was one of the founders of the American Watercolor Society, a member of the Artists Aid Society, the Century, Union League, and Lotus Clubs, an honorary member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well as a Fellow of the Society of Science, Letters and Arts of London, England. He moved to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where he made studies from nature. His picture “Greenwood Lake,” sent to the National Academy Exhibition, won him election as an Associate of the Academy. Most of his paintings depict autumn scenes. His “Autumn on the Hudson River” was highly praised by the London Times. He was perhaps as successful an architect as he was a painter, and is best known as the designer and superintendent of the building of the Sixth Avenue Elevated Railroad Stations of New York. He also superintended the building of George Pullman's house in Chicago and cottages at Long Branch. He is represented in the Metropolitan Museum in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, and in private collections in this country and in Europe.
-Dictionary of American Biography, p.565-6.