C. Hjalmar "Cappy" Amundsen
Arthur T Kalaher Fine Art
Province Town Harbor
Oil on artist board, 9 x 12 inches
Signed lower left, $1,200

Cappy Amundsen

J.J. Enwright (pseudonym for Hjalmar "Cappy" Amundsen)

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. 

Living in Greenwich Village, he was one of the founders of the Washington Square Art Show in New York, where he sold many of his works, and he painted covers for Motor Boating Magazine, which brought in $100 each.  During that time Amundsen was friends with Joe Gould, B. Delaney, and F. Kline.

In 1946 he moved to Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York, with his second wife Nancy. Amundsen opened a studio and lived in the same building, becoming a well-liked figure in the community.  He painted waterfront images, sailing ships, fishing boats, and the New England coastline. 

In 1948 he and Nancy had a daughter, but divorced in 1951, and he didn't have much contact thereafter with neither his daughter nor his son from a first marriage. 

Cappy lived a bohemian lifestyle, making a living with his painting, but by the 1980s  times had become tough, and it was through the initiative of friends and the community that his house was restored.  He died in Brookhaven Memorial Hospital on January 18, 2001.

In September of 2003 the Sag Harbor Historical Society held a posthumous exhibition of his paintings.

Sources include:
"Artist, sailor, or pool shark?" Sag Harbor Herald, September 28, 1989 pp 1 and 10

"Sag Harbor's Artist in Residence, Cappy Amundsen Dies," Sag Harbor Express, February 8, 2001 pp 1 and 5

"Cappy Amundsen, Artist, Sailor" obituary, East Hampton Star, January 8, 2001 

"Cappy Sea Paintings" Sag Harbor Express, September 4, 2003 

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