The powerful inspiration of the fall season on Cropsey's work is once again championed in Autmn Landscape, a splendid image which demonstrates the artist's gift for meticulously rendering the light, atmosphere and colors of an autumnal afternoon. Cropsey was not alone in his "desire to capture both the visual and affective qualities of the changing seasons. The undisputed beauty and infinite variety of nature in America inspired Cropsey and other artists of his generation to observe it closely, explore it, make sketches of sites and details, and, ultimately, canonize it in large-scale paintings. These paintings were a tribute to the potential of America's landscape, as a reflection of its creator, to bring its inhabitants closer to God and to help forge a national identity sanctified by this connection." (A.M. Foshay, Jasper Francis Cropsey: Artist and Architect, New York, 1987, p. 18)
In Autumn Landscape, Cropsey reveals "the two sides of the complex philosophical debate that engaged many nineteenth century landscape painters: the importance of the real versus the ideal in the representation of nature." (Jasper F. Cropsey: Artist and Architect, p. 19) Cropsey presents the viewer with a serene landscape rife with the colors of changing leaves against a backdrop of distant hills painted in subdued tones of lavender. In the left foreground, the artist has subtly placed two figures lounging on the split rail fence seemingly in conversation. These figures as well as the buildings and all other signs of human presence are dwarfed by the overwhelming surrounding presence of nature. Each element of the landscape has been articulated with Cropsey's characteristic meticulous attention to detail.
This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Jasper Francis Cropsey by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.