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Forever Resting with The Hudson River School in Greenburgh: Jasper F. Cropsey and his house
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
Every village of Greenburgh has something which makes it unique. These features allow town residents to point to their specific village and be proud, and, all of these are ways in which these villages have made the United States and/or the world a better place. General George Washington camped in Ardsley during the American Revolution. Just as Ardsley played a huge role in founding the country, Dobbs Ferry played an equally huge role in keeping it together. This village is the place where most of Greenburgh’s Union Civil War dead are buried. Hartsdale satisfied this country’s sweet tooth as the birthplace of the first Carvel. Similarly, Elmsford wet this country’s whistle as the birthplace of cocktails. Irvington was home to Charles Lewis Tiffany. Tarrytown is where all of the masonic lodges in Greenburgh are located. When one thinks of Greenburgh’s Village of Hastings, one most often thinks of science and with good reason. Hastings was home to two Nobel Prize winning physicists, James Rainwater and Jack Steinberger, and the astronomer who took the clearest photos of the moon to date, Henry Draper. However, we the Assistant Town Historians, would be remiss if we completely overlooked Hastings’ contributions to the field of art. Landscape artist Jasper F. Cropsey has a home and a gallery located in Hastings.
Jasper F. Cropsey (1823-1900):
Jasper F. Cropsey was born on February 18, 1823 in Rossville, Staten Island, New York. He was the first of his parents’ eight children (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1191.html). Cropsey was often tormented by periods of ill health as a boy (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey). These bouts of illness kept him in the house for much of his childhood. To pass the time ,he taught himself to draw pictures and architectural drawings (https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1191.html, http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html)
In 1837, at the age of 14, he won first prize at the Mechanic's Institute Fair for his drawing of a house (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1191.html, http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). This made him a local celebrity in Rossville, and, made it easy for him to secure an internship at Joseph Trench's architectural firm in Manhattan (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1191.html , http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). It was also during this time that he learned to paint using watercolor and oil (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1191.html , http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). In 1842, he left Trench’s firm to establish his own brand as an independent architect. He designed two churches on Staten Island, Moravian Church in 1843 and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in 1845, an act that surely pleased his devout Christian parents (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey).
He was a good architect, but, painting was his true passion and so he continued with it, even while trying to establish himself as an architect. His talent and passion for painting only increased as a result of his close friendship with the artists: Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and George Inness, all of whom referred to him fondly as, “Frank” (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). They called him that because his middle initial “F.” stands for Francis (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey). In 1844, at the age of 21 he became the youngest member of the National Academy of Design (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html) Shortly afterwards, he stopped doing architecture for a while to focus full time on painting (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey). He went frequently to the Greenwood Lakes area of New Jersey often to do sketches he could later use for inspiration for paintings. Around this time he met Maria Cooley at her family home in West Milford, whom he married in 1846 (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html) or 1847 (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey). Shortly after their marriage, they went on a tour of Europe visiting: England, Scotland, Switzerland, France, and Italy (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). The newlyweds even decided to buy a house in Rome (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). This was very beneficial for his painting career because he painted Hudson River scenes and sold them to European clients, while at the same time painting European scenes and selling them to American clients.
He returned to America in 1849 and became one of the most famous names in the Hudson River School (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey, http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html). The Hudson River School is a group of famous American landscape artists who lived on or near the Hudson River. In addition to Cropsey and his friends: Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, and George Inness, this group also includes Albert Bierstadt. In 1856 Cropsey , his wife, and now two young daughters, left the United States and settled in London, England (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey). In 1860, they came back to America and Cropsey returned to architecture to design for himself and for his family a Gothic Revival 29-room mansion called “Aladdin” in Warwick, New York (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey). The home was completed in 1869, but unfortunately for Cropsey, public taste in art started to shift away from his realism toward impressionism in 1878.
As a result, in 1884, Cropsey was forced to sell this home due to financial hardship. Therefore in 1885 he, his wife and now four daughters, moved to Greenburgh’s village of Hastings-on-Hudson. Still in love with gothic architecture, a year later, he and his wife purchased a gothic style house that had been built and owned by William Saunders located at 49 Washington Avenue Hastings on Hudson. He named it “Ever Rest.” He passed away on June 22, 1900, and his loving wife Maria passed away in 1906. Today the home is cared for by the Newington - Cropsey Foundation and is on the National Register of Historic Places (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/EverRest.html https://picryl.com/media/cropsey-house-and-studio-49-washington-avenue-hastings-on-hudson-westchester-8).
Ever Rest 49 Washington Avenue Hastings on Hudson
His art gallery located at 25 Cropsey Lane Hastings is also currently cared for by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/NCFGallery.html).
Cropsey Art Gallery: 25 Cropsey Lane Hastings on Hudson
Some of his most famous paintings include: Autumn-On the Hudson River (1860) (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html)The Old Mill (1876) (http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html), and Hackensack Meadows (1890) (https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/14426).
In conclusion, every village of Greenburgh has something which makes it unique and the ways in which the villages are unique have made the world a better place. While most people associate Hastings with science, its contribution to art, the home and the gallery of Jasper F. Cropsey, should not be overlooked.
Previous Slices of History include:
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Blumberg, N. (2021, June 18). Jasper Francis Cropsey. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jasper-Cropsey
National Gallery of Art. (2022, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Jasper Francis Cropsey. Retrieved from National Gallery of Art: https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1191.html
Newington-Cropsey Foundation. (2018, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Newington-Cropsey Foundation Gallery of Art Building. Retrieved from Newington-Cropsey Foundation: http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/NCFGallery.html
Newington-Cropsey Foundation. (2018, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Ever Rest, The Cropsey Homestead. Retrieved from Newington-Cropsey Foundation: http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/EverRest.html
Newington-Cropsey Foundation. (2018, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Jasper Cropsey: a brief biographical sketch. Retrieved from Newington-Cropsey Foundation: http://www.newingtoncropsey.com/JFCropsey.html
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (200-2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Hackensack Meadows. Retrieved from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/14426