William Barth Osmundsen
Born April 10, 1947, at the Margret Hauge Hospital in Jersey City, NJ to Ann Barth Osmundsen and William Torger Osmundsen. Bill's father was his first art teacher having been an art student at Copper Union in lower Manhattan. His grandfather Osmund, influenced his love of the sea, having been a yacht captain and rigger, from Stavanger, Norway who settled in the New York Metropolitan area.
Bill Osmundsen began his professional career in art as an Editorial Cartoonist for a local newspaper while in high school just 50 years ago July of 2014.
He attended Trinity University studing art and particularly sculpture. 'I felt I caught fire with my portrait busts' Osmundsen recollected. Taking a semester off he secured a teaching job with the Ridgewood Art Association (now Ridgewood Art Institute) in Ridgewood, NJ. Within months he opened his first art gallery 44 rue Maison in Ramsey NJ.
The Vietnam War had a heavy draft requirement in 1968, and the Artist chose to enlist in the Navy.
Osmundsen became an Illustrator-Draftsman, working on an Admirals Staff; - COMPHIBLANT. During his tour he contributed to two Navy museums, Creating a bust of Vice Admiral Heinz and creating 2 ten foot square murals and a relief sculpture for the Operation Torch Museum depicting the invasion of North Africa. On his off hours Osmundsen was a regular contributor to the Studio Gallery in Virginia Beach and held a major showing before exiting the Navy in December of 1971.
Returning to the New York area, Osmundsen became a member of the prestigious Portraits Inc., then located on Madison and 57th St., NYC. By the years end he was commissioned to do a Man of the Year cover for Time Magazine. Because of editorial changes both Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were chosen to be 'men of the year' and Bill's singular portrait of Nixon was not used.
Bill ventured out into relief work creating a medallic work for the Medallic Art Co. CT. The Artist's 'Exxon Tiger' was distributed by Exxon to all off their gas stations throughout the US as well as a commemorative for the company. Working with the Wilton Armetal Co. in 1975 Bill produced a series of Bicentenial commemorative plates. His Paramus Church plate was officially distributed by Bergan County for the 1976 celebration. During this period Osmundsen became 'Sculptor in Residence' at Burrows Gallerye in Englewood, NJ. It was there that Bill began putting his sculpture work into bronze in partnership with the gallery owner Robert G. Burrows. Together they produced the 'Flight of the Terns' and the 'Eagles Flight'.
The 'Flight of the Terns' and it's casting at Tallix Foundry was chosen for an article in the new national magazine 40 and the first casting went to a Burrows customer. Other castings of the 'Terns' were presented to the CEO and President of Scandinavian Airlines when he retired and another was commissioned for a lobby piece for Barber Steamship in lower Manhattan.
On July 4th 1976 the parade of Tall Ships sailed up the Hudson River creating greatest nautical event thus far in the 20th century. The Artist had requested to sail onboard the Tall Ship Christian Radich, the Norwegian training vessel. The Captain granted his request to take a 2 man crew and sail out of Boston Harbor for Montreal. During the eight day cruse Osmundsen made sketches and the photographer took pictures and a log written of the event. Returning home that research became the bases for Bill's continuing series 'BRONZES FROM THE SEA.
The first exhibit for Osmundsen's new bronze artworks was at Rockefeller Center on the 5th Avenue Windows of Scandinavian Airlines in 1977. During the 4 month exhibit the sculptures caught the eye of the Norwegian correspondent for the Oslo paper VG. The page 2 article got Osmundsen invited to show his works during the upcoming Operation Sail Event in Norway. The exhibit took place in the Windows of the silver shop David-Andersen in downtown Oslo.
The 'City of Oslo' had commissioned one of Bill's new works featuring the cadits onboard 'Radich' known as 'At the Helm'. At the end of the Tall Ship races 'At the Helm' was presented to the Captain and Crew of Christian Radich by HM King Olav V of Norway during the Award ceramonies.
Commissions for a collection of sterling silver 'helmsman' were made with Bill prior to leaving Oslo by David-Andersen. Later those works were used for a wide variety of presentations including the Chairman of Friends of Christian Radich, Norways famous actor Lasse Kolstadt.
Bill's 'Bronzes from the Sea' exhibit was invited to take part in Houston's Norway Festival in 1980, by Houston's Norwegian Consul General. Bill's exhibit was sponsored in part by the Institute of International Education and Houston Museum of Science which supplied an exhibition hall where the Artist introduced a 14 minute film made onboard 'Radich' in '76 as well as an exhibit of his bronzes. Field trips from local schools attended this exhibit 4 times a day and for a two week period.
On returning after two months of exhibitions Osmundsen held a one man showing at the Whithall Club located in the Whitehall building where his commissioned lobby work of the 'Flight of the Terns' was exhibited a few floors below at the Barber Steamship, NY headquarters.
Bill had added a few new motifs to his growing collection for the Houston show and in '81 he introduced the bronze collection to the silver department at Cartier Inc., on 5th Avenue. The buyers were able to see the silver helmsman as it was created for David-Andersen and commissioned a number of sets of 5 of the bronze motifs, including 'At the Helm'.
In December of 1982 the Americas Cup Committee from the New York Yacht Club met with Bill and presented the Artist with a license to create a series of bronzes on the subject of the 'Cup' races.
For the July unveiling in Newport Osmundsen created 5 motifs;- 'America 1851', Shamrock-a Lipton tribute', 'Dueling J's', 'Running Twelves', and large center-piece work:- 'Twelve Meter Cockpit-the Afterguard'. The new series and other work was exhibited with the official sponsors of the cup, unfortunatly that was the year that the 'Cup' it was lost to the Australian's.
The combined collections, the cadits and America's Cup were exhibited in the summer of '85, taking over one facet of the 5-sided 'Top of the World', 'World Trade Center'. The exhibit was sponsored by the Maryland Port Authority and the Operation Sail Committee. More than 63,000 people viewed the exhibit in the 2 months Bill was on exhibit.
The Stamford Sheraton Hotel and Towers, in Stamford CT. would become Osmundsen's longest and most elaberate one-man showing, filling the lobby, restaurant and placing a monumental sized 'At the Helm' on the grounds below the Sheraton tower. A large circular garden was planted around the sculpture instillation and lights showcased Osmundsen's sculpture, all around, at night. The exhibit ran from 1986-1990. Among the significant commissions from that show was 'Shamrock-a Lipton Tribute which was presented to the retiring CEO and President by the employees of Lipton.
On site demonstrations at the Sheraton led to an invitation to exhibit with the 'Annapolis Boat Show Group' otherwise known as the United States Sailboat-Powerboat Shows. After a successful show in Annapolis in '87 modeling Tristan Jones' Bust, Bill was invited to participated in the coming years full schedule of shows which included;- Boston, Baltimore, Stamford, Annapolis and South St. Bill followed the shows until 1990.
In 1990 Osmundsen relocated in New Hampshire, creating a gallery and studio from an old 3 story barn. Studio On-the-Ridge was located in a rural moutain ridge. The studio was expanded into a working 'lost wax' bronze casting foundry. There Bill and a few helpers completed bronze castings for about a dozen artists and did work with and for such notable artists as Felix de Weldon and Robert Roche. De Weldon had been a good friend of Bill's since attending his America's Cup exhibit in Newport and Robbie Roche a close friend who was living nearby on the Maine seacoast.
In 1996 Bill installed his New Hampshire Percent for Art Award, on three cupolas, atop of the State Liquor Store on I-95. This project included 3 major weathervanes, 'Sun Rising' and 'Crescent Moon' flanked and appointed the centerpiece: 'Privateer'. In 1999 Osmundsen received another NH Percent for Art Award and placed 'Sighting the Course for Seacoast New Hampshire' on the NH Welcome Center in Seabrook NH.
The most important bronze created at Studio On-the-Ridge was a monument created by Osmundsen from his involvement with skiing with the blind;- 'Ski for LIght - Art for Sight'. The 2/3rd life size skiers created by the artist were cast in his studio and later trucked with a 5,500 lb block of white Vermont marble , for the base, to Frisco, Colorado's in honor of Olav Pedersen's 80th Birthday, the founder of Ski for Light in the US.
In 2000 Osmundsen delivered 'Restauration' a bronze boat depicting the first emigration ship from Norway to New York for the gala event at Ellis Island, presented by the Norweign Emigration Association. Later at auction the bronze was won by Victor Samuelsen who donated it to the Norwegian Seamen's Church in Manhattan. Another gifting of one of Bill's work came from the widow of Hubert M. Tibbetts, former CEO & President of Lipton Tea. Gunhild Tibbetts presented the 'Eagles Flight' to the Boy Scout Headquarters in Greenwich CT. in memory of her husband Hu, an Eagle Scout.
Presently after six year stay in Virginia Beach, VA. Osmundsen is operating his new 'Down Under Art Studio' located in the Ben Franklin Block Building, 75 Congress St., Portsmouth, NH., where he invites your commissioned work.