Sag Harbor Whaling Museum - Summer 2011 - Cappy Amundsen
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Daily: 10am to 5pm

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200 Main Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
For more information
Call 631-725-0770
Fax: 631-725-5638


Museum Manager: Greg Therriault
Business Manager: Vanessa Petruccelli
Collections Manager: Richard Doctorow
Museum Shop Manager: Michael Butler
Harpoon Committee:
Terry Elkins + Scott Sandell + Gavin Zeigler

Board of Directors:
Barbara Pintauro~Lobosco - President
Linley Pennebaker Whelan - Vice President
Zachary Studenroth- Treasurer
Anthony Brandt - Secretary
Joanne Carter
Robert Chaloner
Peter Drakoulias
Annette Hinkle
Peter J. Marcelle
Catherine Ross
Kathie Russo
Bettina Stelle
Lynda Sylvester
Tom Dakin

Cappy, The Life and Art of C. Hjalmar Amundsen

Summer Exhibition: Cappy,
The Life and Art of C. Hjalmar Amundsen

Cappy AmundsenThe son of a well-known artist, C. Hjalmar Amundsen was born Casper Hjalmar Emerson, III in New York City. Since he was the third generation family member with the given name of Casper, he became known from birth simply as Cappy. Cappy attended the Grand Central School of Art, studying illustration and painting. In 1932, he became a founder of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Show with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Beaufort & Joseph Delaney and others. Two years later, Cappy exhibited a caricature of Adolph Hitler at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When the German Ambassador's wife objected to the nature of the drawing, it was removed from the show. This resulted in a loud outcry among artists claiming censorship. It was reported by Time magazine and newspapers nationwide. Since Cappy could not make a living as an artist he traveled by yawl along the Northeast Coast, working as a commercial fisherman. Living in seaport towns like Provincetown and Gloucester, Massachusetts, he became a member of the famous Beachcombers Club. During World War II, Cappy gained recognition with the public for a portfolio of U. S. Navy ships and a number of cover illustrations for Motor Boating magazine. At the same time, he began to sign his paintings with a numbers of pseudonyms. Eventually, he legally changed his name from Emerson to Amundsen. In 1946, Cappy Amundsen moved to Sag Harbor, Long Island. For the next fifty years, he became a popular character in the quaint waterfront town, establishing important relationships with John Steinbeck, Bobby Graham, Wilfred Sheed, Truman Capote, Hans Hokanson, Franz Kline, Bobby Van, Paul Newman, John Sherry and others in the artistic and literary community. Cappy was an active member in village activities, establishing two art schools in the hamlet. His accomplishments include the founding of the first waterfront festival, the Outboard Racing Regatta. This popular event became a forerunner for the Old Whalers Festival. Cappy also helped organize the Sea Scouts, Three Mile Harbor Sailing Fleet, Montauk Sailing Club and exhibitions at Guild Hall Museum. Amundsen was almost unbeatable in sailing competition, winning numerous Eastern Long Island Sound Championships. As a neighbor, he was extremely popular with village residents, becoming legendary in his adopted home. By the end of his life, almost every home and business establishment in Sag Harbor had a Cappy Amundsen painting hanging on its wall.

Cappy Amundsen painting

As a member of the Norwegian Art & Craft Club, Cappy Amundsen established a warm relationship with Rockwell Kent in 1947. By this time, Kent was already recognized as an important voice in the American artist community. One of his many achievements was the 1930 publication of a three volume book, Moby Dick. This book was meticulously illustrated with black and white drawings, helping make the original publication by Herman Melville the classic it is today. Inspired by these illustrations, Cappy Amundsen embarked on a thirty-five year journey of producing realistic scenes of men whaling. In 1956, the movie Moby Dick was released. This created a renewed interest in the "white whale" and the history of whaling in our country. Cappy Amundsen was honored with a show of his whaling themes at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum the same year. This was the last time a grouping of these works were assembled for the public. Attendance for the show was just shy of 20,000 from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In 2011, the one hundredth year of Cappy Amundsen's birth, we again celebrate the history of Sag Harbor through Amundsen's eyes. With a number of paintings coming from local institutions and private collections, this body of work is a testament to Cappy's skill as an artist and illustrator. Meanwhile, Amundsen clearly uses American historical conditions and a sense of place in his creativity of these scenes. Through this body of work, the artist reminds the viewer of life at sea during the whaling era.

Cappy Amundsen Centennial Celebration
Opening Reception for Cappy, The Life & Art of C. Hjalmar Amundsen
Friday, June 3, 2011 at 6 pm

Special Dinner to Benefit the Whaling Museum
Please Join Exhibit Curator Terry Wallace & The Whaling Museum
Thurday, June 23 at 6 pm at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor

A special selection of paintings by Cappy Amundsen will be on display and for sale at The American Hotel, May 15- July 4, 2011: a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum.

“Cappy” Amundsen Walking Tour Saturday
July 30, 10 to Noon
Don’t miss an opportunity to join curator Terry Wallace on a tour of downtown Sag Harbor where some of Cappy’s largest and most remarkable paintings remain on display. The Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum, in conjunction with the summer exhibit Cappy: the Life & Art of C. Hjalmar Amundsen, will sponsor this Saturday morning trek beginning at 10 am at the museum, 200 Main Street, Sag Harbor. Pre-registration is recommended by calling #725-0770. Fee: $25 per person.