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METHODOLOGY

Felix Albrecht Harta created over 3,000 works drawn in various mediums including Oil, watercolor, charcoal, colored chalk, pen, etc. An attempt to catalog all of his work, therefore, is impossible given that the he painted before, during, and after two World Wars, and that twice his works were destroyed- once by a fire in the Neue Galerie in Salzburg and in 1940 by a V-2 rocket during Germany’s blitz attack on England. Nevertheless, enough works survive that can clearly establish Harta’s career oeuvre, and allow for interpretation. Given the scope of the effort to locate and catalog accurately so many works, the website medium was chosen, since errors and updates can easily be inputted, is cost effective, and can be available to a wider audience.

There are two main sources for identifying Harta works. The first is Harta’s handwritten ledger that he called “Werkverzeichnis (henceforth referred to as WV). This list was compiled in two accounting ledgers that he maintained starting in 1906, and ending in 1966. The second source is Edith Baumgartner’s unpublished dissertation, entitled: “Felix Albrecht Harta (1884 – 1967)”, presented for her doctoral degree conferred by the University of Salzburg in 1991.This massive thesis was written in two volumes. Volume 1 covered Harta’s life, exhibitions, and analysis of his oeuvre, while Volume 2 consisted of two catalogs. Volume 2 contains first her transcription of Harta’s Werkverzeichnis that listed approximately 2,875 works. And the second was her “Created Catalog of works with Illustrations” that captured approximately 700 works, with half being Oils, and the other half, graphics. Unfortunately, her dissertation never was formally published, therefore the need to update and present a formalized digital catalog became necessary.


 

Sources:

 

The identification of works derives from multiple sources, and are consistent with good practices. These included the aforementioned catalogs, exhibition catalogs, auction records, newspaper reviews, art journals, collector’s recollections, and the Harta estate papers located in the Salzburg Festival Archives, as well as family estate documents.

Organization -Oils 

 

When the dissertation was obtained, it first was translated from German to English. The first set of works to catalog naturally were the Oil paintings. The Oils are divided into four time periods that can be used to assess Harta’s artistic development over his career. Next is a fifth category titled “Unverifiable Oils”. Unverifiable Oils are paintings that cannot be verified through any source document as definitively painted by Harta. This includes paintings that are unsigned and undated and are not listed in either Harta’s Work Catalog or Baumgartner’s catalog; works where the signature may have been forged, works lacking traceable provenance, or works where the dating is impossible to specify. In most cases, one only can say that the work was “attributed to Harta”. Obvious fakes are not included in the catalog. Finally, there is a sixth category titled as “Uncorroborated Oils”. This is defined as works whose appearance and location are unknown, but whose existence is referenced in surviving documents. These works were not previously catalogued by Baumgartner, but are listed on an Excel Spreadsheet with details from Harta’s Work Catalog. Please give the Excel file a minute or two to load up.

 

Its instructive to first understand how Baumgartner listed Harta’s works. She used the following designations:

 

G= Oil paintings

 

Gr= graphics (caricatures were listed separately without any designation)

 

GN & GNr =Works that became known after she has presented the first edition of her catalog. GN used for Oils, and GNr used for graphics.

 

WV-= the work is not listed in Harta’s Work Catalog

 

When the catalog was launched, the designation of OL was used to serially number the Oil paintings. However, realized this was impractical because of the amount of new material that is being discovered. So, these will be deleted until it is practical to publish a final curation of the works. The UO designation for unverifiable oils will be kept as it’s easier to manage. This also applies to the graphics.

 

Chronology/Dating

 

A sincere attempt is made to list works in chronological order, that is the order in which they were created. This effort while empirical cannot be considered to be one hundred percent accurate. First, Harta did not date all of his works, and sometimes there just is not enough documentation to accurately estimate the dating of the painting. Sometimes, a painting in his catalog is shown as created earlier, but is dated later. In these situations, the date of the creation prevails. This digital catalog attempts to maintain concordance with the two prior catalogs, wherever possible. In some cases, Baumgartner erred, and these corrections are noted.  

 

Regarding accurately dating a work is difficult for the following reasons: 1. Harta did not always list a work he created; 2. He did not always list works sequentially, and several works created in a prior year are listed later or not at all; 3. Many works are undated or a date is not visible from the primary source document; 4. Titles can be identical or nearly identical which makes precise matching difficult. This is a problem when attempting to catalog his numerous floral still-life’s; 5. Verification sometimes can be improved by seeing the back of the work, but getting to see the actual works is impractical; in this regard, its hoped that curators and dealers will provide the necessary assistance. 

 

Catalog Description:

 

The image is presented with the title of the work in English. The date precedes the designation. Note that currently there is no designation for the graphics as they continue to be discovered. Following is the description under each work that includes the following information:

 

Title: This is the title that Harta wrote in his catalog. Usually when a work was not located in his Werkverzeichnis, Baumgartner would create the title. When both are unavailable, the title that the originator (auction house, etc) used is listed first. So, for example, this is written as the title xxxx per Harta.

 

Medium: The medium is listed. Usually this looks like Oil/canvas or Pencil/paper. If a medium is not listed, it means its not known. In a few cases, there is a question whether a work is either or, but this is noted.

 

Dimensions: Dimensions always are listed Height by Width in Centimeters. Inches are included when available. Framed and unframed are listed when available. Note that dimensions can vary because the source is measuring different aspects of the work. Where no dimensions are listed, it means the dimensions are unknown.

 

Signature, Inscriptions, Date location: Signatures and inscription will be in Caps with the location within the image noted. Undated works will be listed as undated. Every attempt is made to accurately transcribe inscriptions (also in Caps), but sometimes the image is not good enough. This problem is understood, and effort is ongoing to correct.

 

Catalog Concordance: Listed fist is Harta’s Work Catalog designation (i.e WV139/1913), followed by Baumgartner’s created catalog designation (i.e., G25). WV- means the work is not located in Harta’s catalog. Baumgartner’s designation is followed by the Volume, followed by the page number listed in her created catalog (i.e Vol. II, pg. 68). Thus, this is always listed as Baumgartner catalog or (where space is limited), “Baumgartner”.

 

Exhibitions: Where the work was exhibited.

 

Literature: Where the work was referenced in a journal, newspaper, catalog, or the dissertation’s section on interpretation.

 

Provenance: Determining the complete chain of ownership requires an experienced provenance researcher, and in some instances is beyond the scope of this catalog to determine. In many works, Harta listed “erstbesitz” (first owner), and that is listed first. In many cases, the full chain is known, and is provided. In many cases, the current owner of the painting is unknown at the time of listing.  It is hoped that auction houses, collectors, and museums will cooperate to better understand the chain of ownership.

 

Location: This is defined as the current location of the work. Where the work resides in a museum, the inventory number is listed, and the link to the Museum’s digital collection is provided. Where the work is owned privately, only the location is noted due to confidentiality unless permission is granted.

 

Remarks:  Where space provides, added comments are written to clarify something about the subject, or when a catalog discrepancy is noted. Poor images also listed here as “Placeholder Images”.

 

Graphics

 

Harta drew a large number of drawings in various mediums that included charcoal, colored pencil, colored chalk, lithography, and watercolor. The same organizational template is applied to the graphics with the exception that currently there is no specific catalog designation because the graphics still are being accumulated.

Caricatures:  Harta drew many caricatures. Baumgartner listed them separately, but this catalog lists them in the order that they were created.

 

                                                                         -Larry Heller (updated 10/11/22)

 

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1 An obvious fake is defined as a work where there is no supporting documentation, only the owner or seller’s word, lacking provenance, and/or where the color palette, style, and/or the signature does not correlate whatsoever with Harta’s works. Moreover, the work is not the fake, but the painter has signed Hartas name to the work.

 

2 The WV designation does not necessarily mean that the work is not listed. There were many rediscovered works never listed or due to title variations, and lack of supporting evidence, the work cannot be located within his catalog.

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