Jasper Francis Cropsey
Autumn Landscape, 1879
Signed JF Cropsey and dated 1879 (ll)
Oil on canvas
12 x 20 inches
Newhouse Galleries, New York, inv. no. 17323
In an email dated August 17, 2016, Dr. Kenneth W. Maddox wrote of the present work, "I suspect the scene can never be precisely identified, and may not be topographically accurate, but it is obviously inspired by Cropsey's recollections of the Ramapo Valley near his summer home at Warwick. The decrepit bridge in the foreground, or variations of it, appear in over forty-five paintings by Cropsey. William Talbot termed it 'the capriccio of the spindly bridge,' a label I have adopted. Its origins came from the foreground bridge in Church's New England Scenery (which Cropsey felt was overrated)--a painting which Cropsey utilized for his compositions of Summer, Lake Ontario. Cropsey incorporated in his compositions not only Church's foreground bridge (without the covered wagon), the waterfall (without the mill), the church in the middle distance, the framing elm trees on the right, and even the distant spit of land, with trees and cattle. By 1862 when Cropsey was in England he used what was now his personal variation of the bridge for his painting Indian Summer on the Delaware River. The title is documented. Upon returning to America in 1863, beginning at the time he built his summer home, Aladdin, near Warwick, the spindly bridge was used as a motif in a series of paintings of the Ramapo River. There are a number of nineteenth-century stereoscopic views of the bridge, but it has not been located. In your painting the artist has reduced the size of the bridge and the scene does not portray the Ramapo River, but a waterfall. Your painting closely relates to Autumn Days, 1874, oil on canvas on board, NCF 1582; Autumn on the Wawayanda, (title inscribed on stretcher) 1877, oil on canvas, NCF 301; Late Fall Afternoon, 1875, NCF 679; and Autumn in the Warwick Valley, 1883, oil on canvas, NCF 874. Luckily, just before he died, Cropsey related in a letter dated 5 March 1900 [Collection, Newington-Cropsey Foundation] to his St. Louis dealer, M. Alfred Newhouse, purchaser of one of his The Mellow Autumn Time compositions, the significance to him of the Ramapo Valley bridges: 'There was [sic] a number of old Rustic Bridges-built by the miners-to team their iron ore to the smelting mills: some were very picturesque-But in the Course of Time they have mostly passed away.'"
We are deeply grateful to Dr. Maddox, author of the catalogue raisonne of the artist's work published by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, for kindly confirming the attribution of this painting and for generously allowing us to share his comments.
C Property from a Private New York State Collector
Additional Notes & Condition Report
Treatment Performed August 2016
1. Remove grime layer and discolored varnish from painting.
2. Apply new varnish of BEVA varnish (Regalrez resin with U V stabilizer).
3. Retouch one small area in sky which had some old retouching covering a small repair with resin colors (Maimeri).
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