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Caspar Hjlmar Amundsen


Harbor , Oil On Canvas
24'' X 36''
Signed Lower Right

He was born Caspar Hjalmar Emerson III in New York City in 1911, and in 1946 legally changed his name to Hjalmar Amundsen in honor of his great-uncle, explorer Roald Amundsen, who located the magnetic center of the South Pole the year his great-nephew was born. Hjalmar spent his childhood in Bensonhurst, N.Y., attending grammar school in Brooklyn, and Hackensack, New Jersey, where he went to secondary school. He was in his early twenties when he first began painting, claiming that he only did so, because it was easier than any other work he could think of. Amundsen loved the sea, and had a lifelong interest in sailing and fishing. While growing up, Hjalmar and his father would drive to the East End of Long Island, and he'd go out in a fishing boat. Later he bought a small boat and went out sailing and fishing as often as he could. As an adult, the young artist moved back to New York and spent time painting in and around Gloucester and Provincetown, Massachusetts. In his early career, he is believed to have created up to 275 paintings a year over a period of six years under the name of Enwright, and it is now believed that J.J. Enwright and Hjalmar Amundsen is one and the same artist. In the spring of 1932, Cappy founded the Washington Square Outdoor Art Show in New York City with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Beaufort Delaney and others. Exhibiting there for over thirty years, he was awarded first place in show many times. In 1934, Cappy participated in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. He exhibited a caricature of Adolf Hitler titled His Best Foot. Cappy portrayed the German Dictator as half-human and half-devil. After a strong objection by the German Ambassador's wife, the Metropolitan Museum removed the cartoon from the exhibition. This brought a strong protest of censorship by artists. Controversial news articles about the caricature appeared in Time magazine and newspapers throughout the country.

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