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We look out onto a sweeping, panoramic view with trees, their leaves fiery orange and red, framing a view of a distant body of water under a sun-streaked sky in this long, horizontal landscape painting. The horizon comes about halfway up the composition, and is lined with hazy mountains and clouds in the deep distance. Close examination slowly reveals miniscule birds tucked into the crimson-red, golden yellow, and deep, sage-green leaves of the trees to either side of the painting. Closest to us, vine-covered, fallen tree trunks and mossy gray boulders line the bottom edge of the canvas. Beyond a trickling waterfall and small pool near the lower left corner, and tiny within the scale of the landscape, a group of three men and their dogs sit and recline around a blanket and a picnic basket, their rifles leaning against a tree nearby. The land sweeps down to a grassy meadow crossed by a meandering stream that winds into the distance, at the center of the painting. Touches of white and gray represent a flock of grazing sheep in the meadow. A low wooden bridge spans the stream to our right, and a few cows drink from the riverbank. Smoke rises from chimneys in a town lining the riverbank and shoreline beyond, and tiny white sails and steamboats dot the waterway. Light pours onto the scene with rays like a starburst from behind a lavender-gray cloud covering the sun, low in the sky. The artist signed the painting as if he had inscribed the flat top of a rock at the lower center of the landscape with his name, the title of the painting, and date: “Autumn – on the Hudson River, J.F Cropsey, London 1860.”

Jasper Francis Cropsey, Autumn - On the Hudson River, 1860, oil on canvas, Gift of the Avalon Foundation, 1963.9.1

Jasper Francis Cropsey’s Autumn - On the Hudson River

Drawing workshop

Sketchbook Club

  • Wednesday, October 11, 2023
  • 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Fun for Kids
  • Virtual
  • Registration Required

Sketchbook Club is recommended for families with children of all ages. Registration is required. 

Join us as we sketch inspired by Jasper Francis Cropsey’s Autumn - On the Hudson River.

This is one club where you don’t need a membership to join! National Gallery of Art teaching artists lead free, 30-minute sketches inspired by works of art from the National Gallery’s collection. Add new drawings to your sketchbook or just doodle along with us as we explore a different prompt each session.


All you need are a pencil and paper. We encourage you to bring colored pencils, crayons, markers, or paints as well, but these are optional.


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