Cropsey received his early training as an architect and set up his own office in 1843. He began painting shortly thereafter and first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1844. A year later he was elected an associate member and, in 1851, a full member. Cropsey's interest in architecture continued throughout his life and was a strong influence in his painting, most evident in his precise arrangement and outline of forms. But Cropsey was best known for his lavish use of color and, as a first-generation member from the Hudson River School, painted autumn landscapes that startled viewers with their boldness and brilliance. He traveled in Europe from 1847 to 1849 and lived in England from 1856 to 1863. Surviving sketchbooks indicate that Cropsey was in the White Mountains in the summer of 1852 and in 1856. He may have made another visit to the area in 1878. His sketches from nature done on these trips are often marked with color notes as well as the subject or location. His White Mountain paintings date from 1857 to 1897, indicating a life-long love of the region.
Cropsey became interested in Luminism after the Civil War and also in watercolor painting. He founded the American Society of Painters in Water Colors in 1867.
He exhibited at the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Boston Athenaeum, and at the Royal Academy in London. His work has been preserved by the New York Historical Society, the Staten Island Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Peabody Institute.Failing health may have caused his later paintings to be overworked and consequently less popular.
Newington Cropsey Foundation
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