Dawn of Morning, Lake George

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900)
Date: 1868
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 20 1/4 H x 32 1/2 W

Signed and dated lower left: J.F. Cropsey/1868

Provenance: Purchased from the artist by James L. Brumley in 1868; probably descended to Edward R. Brumley (who owned the companion Lake George, Evening in 1944); Albany Institute of History & Art purchased from Joseph A. Muller in 1943. According to William S. Talbot, the painting was once with Leroy Ireland
Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase
Accession Number: 1943.95

Cropsey trained as an architect, but soon became a landscape painter. And although some early landscapes were rich in symbolic and allegorical meaning, he later turned to more straightforward works such as this. Dawn of Morning was painted when Cropsey was at the height of his fame as the most celebrated painter of American autumnal landscapes. This work was originally paired with Lake George, Evening. Lake George was a familiar subject whose crystalline waters and scenic setting Cropsey had painted before. But by the 1860s, when this oil was created, the location was very heavily visited by tourists, and far from the unspoiled beauty enjoyed by the solitary Native American depicted here. The tiny white sails of a boat in the background imply that the era of the Native Americans is coming to an end; a message enhanced by the rainbow that starts near the boat and ends before reading the wilderness, home of the natives.