Pencil on brown paper
6 7/8 H x 9 13/16 W
Extensively inscribed with notations on color and tree species; lower right corner: Fort Putnam
This working sketch reveals how Cropsey—dubbed "the painter of autumn—gathered information for his full-size landscape compositions. His schematic drawing of the mountainside and penciled notes provided a rough guide from which to produce a painting in oil. Chestnuts, maples, birches, and oak trees are identified, and phrases such as "red ochre and ivy creeping up" are reminders of the artist's experience the day the sketch was made. Built during the Revolutionary War at West Point, NY, Fort Putnam was in ruins and considered a "native antiquity" when Cropsey sketched it. European artists could recall their glorious past by painting classical ruins and medieval castles' American artists attempted to do the same with much younger "antiquities."