An architectural prodigy, painter Jasper Francis Cropsey would turn his attention to painting as during his apprenticeship with New York architect Joseph Trench. Encouraged by his mentor to decorate his drawings with landscapes and scenery, Cropsey became enchanted with watercolor paintings. His enthusiasm inspired his mentor to fund formal art studies, and though Cropsey would work as an architect through the 1840s he would soon transition into a full time, and highly successful painter.
By 1843 he was exhibiting with the National Academy of Design, and was made an associate in the next year. He began taking painting excursions and in the 1840s discovered the landscape that would serve as his inspiration and subject matter for most of his career - the Hudson River Valley of New York. By 1866 he purchased property and built his studio and home there, though he maintained a New York studio where he painted and trained students.
He journeyed twice to Europe, with two lengthy stays in England. During his second journey he received numerous commissions and even an audience with Queen Victoria, who was extremely fond of his work.
Cropsey is considered a founder of the Hudson River School and was one of the most respected artists of his era. He's mostly known for his autumn scenes full of brilliant and rich color.
He exhibited widely during his lifetime, and was made a full member of the National Academy of Design before he reached the age of thirty. He was a founding member of the American Water Color Society. His paintings are in some of the most important private and public collections, and can be seen in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the New York Historical Society and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C.