Theme/Style – Modernism, portraits
Media – Sculptures in marble, granite, bronze, wood, terracotta, plaster, clay
Artistic Focus – Frederick Hammargren’s monumental and smaller-scale sculptures alike were notable for the way in which they conveyed to the viewer both a sense of rhythm and sure-handed substance. Hammargren also devoted time to sharing his expertise with others, teaching private classes in his studio for over two decades.
Career Highlights –
- Frederick Hammargren was born in Orebro, Sweden in 1892. His father, a wood-carver, introduced him to the craft of sculpture, and Hammargren went on to study at the Goteborg Art School and also in Paris with Antoine Bourdelle.
- Hammargren came to the United States at the age of 31, arriving at Ellis Island in 1923, and for a time he had a studio in the art colony at Leonia, New Jersey.
- In 1927 Hammargren exhibited at the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, winning a prize; and in 1928 he assisted sculptor Trygve Hammer with the in situ carving of the limestone Theodore Roosevelt Monument in Tenafly, New Jersey.
- Hammargren exhibited at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey in 1932, and was elected to the National Sculpture Society in 1933.
- In 1934 Hammargren was awarded a prize for work he exhibited at the American Artists Professional League in New York; and in 1937 he, along with Robert A. Baillie, completed the carving of the marble Yalden Sundial at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.
- Hammargren’s 1938 exhibition at the Douthitt Gallery in New York City included pieces in both marble and mahogany; and in 1939 he exhibited works in bronze, as well as wood and stone, at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida.
- Around 1940 Hammargren briefly lived in Houston, and his sculpture “Despair” was included in the first Texas General Exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and the Witte Memorial Museum of San Antonio.
- By 1942 Hammargren was living in Los Angeles, and an ad in the Los Angeles Times proclaimed “Hammargren – The Swedish Sculptor – Has arrived from New York and will accept a few students in modelling, drawing, stone and wood carving at his studio gallery” on North La Cienega Boulevard.
- Hammargren exhibited with the California Art Club at the Stendahl Galleries in 1944. The exhibition included paintings as well as work by other sculptors including Karoly Fulop, Jason Herron, Caroline Lloyd, and Albert Stewart. In 1946 Hammargren and Merrell Gage both received Honorable Mentions in the City of Los Angeles Exhibition of Painting, Sculpture and Miniature Painting at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park.
- Hammargren would continue to exhibit with the California Art Club through 1955, where his sculptures were often singled out and illustrated in reviews in the Los Angeles Times. His sculpture “Rhythm” took second place in the 1955 CAC exhibition, with Peter Paul Ott’s sculpture “Electra” taking third. Other venues where Hammargren exhibited during his career were the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Salons of America, and the Society of Independent Artists.
- In 1962 Hammargren created the silver medal commemorating the opening of Dodger Stadium. His other works in metal included the Leif Erikson Foundation Award plaque and a sesquicentennial medal for the War of 1812.
- Hammargren’s sculptures are in the collections of the Newark Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia. Frederick Hammargren passed away in Los Angeles in 1968.
Bibliographic references are available upon request.