Warwick Woodlands is in an area of Orange County, New Jersey, with which Jasper Francis Cropsey was intimately familiar and which he painted often. This landscape is warmed by the autumn tints for which Cropsey was famous. He began painting fall landscapes as early as 1845, possibly under the influence of nineteenth-century poetry and prose as well as the paintings of Thomas Cole.
Fall landscapes became a favorite subject of Cropsey in the 1850s, and he returned to it frequently after his Autumn on the Hudson River and other similar works were acclaimed by London critics in the early 1860s. The basic compositional pattern of that famous painting is reused, with variations, in Warwick Woodlands. In both, a distant view with water, mountains, and a spectacular sunset is framed by rocks and boulders in the foreground. Cropsey overcame the problem of rendering bright colors while still giving an effect of recession by using lively brushwork for these closely viewed features. The cool colors and atmospheric perspective of the distant mountains also help to achieve the desired depth. The horizon recedes like a dream, fading away like the American wilderness that retreats from the encroachment of civilization (implied by the rickety bridge and minuscule figures in the front plane).