Jasper Francis Cropsey was a leading member of the Hudson River School, the first recognizably American school of painting. American Harvesting, with its orderly progression from once-primeval forest to rich farmland and distant mountains, presents an iconic image of the rural American landscape. In the background, the light breaking through the western clouds is a commentary on the widespread belief that America’s westward expansion—often described as manifest destiny—was a divine right. Cropsey displayed this painting at the 1851 exhibition of the American Art-Union to great acclaim.
Jasper Francis Cropsey
Oil on canvas
35 ½ x 52 3/4 in. (90.1 x 133.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Nicholas H. Noyes, 69.93