METHODOLOGY

An attempt at precisely cataloging Harta’s vast body of work is impossible given the fact that he painted before, during, and after two World Wars. Therefore, the web site medium was chosen for the purpose of being able to quickly amend  basic content. If there are errors, the fault is mine, and they will be corrected.  Continued research and communication with collectors, curators, dealers, and relatives will improve accuracy.

It is estimated that Harta created over 3,000 works, drawn in various mediums that included: Oils, Watercolor, Pen, Charcoal, Chalk, Rotel Pen, etc.  The main source for identifying works derive from two sources. The first is Harta’s handwritten catalogue (Werkverzeichnis-henceforth referred to as WV). His handwritten list was transcribed in two ledgers that he maintained from 1906 to 1966(1). The second source is Edith Baumgartner’s unpublished doctoral dissertation: F.A. Harta (1884 -1967), University of Salzburg, 1991 presented in two volumes. Volume 1 covered Harta’s life, exhibitions, and analysis of his oeuvre, while Volume 2 consisted of two catalogs. The first was Baumgartner transcribing Harta’s original handwritten catalog listing approx. 2,875 works. The second formed the basis for creating her own catalog with illustrations that she titled “the created catalog of works with illustrations”. She captured approximately 700 works, with approximately half being oils, and the other half, graphics.Baumgartner cataloged approximately 338 oils. This update adds 88 previously unlisted oil paintings totaling approximately 426 oil paintings that now are cataloged. Moreover, Harta made numerous notes regarding his works-indicating that they were destroyed, lost, overpainted, or exhausted. However, in her research, Baumgartner rediscovered many unlisted works, and used the following designations in her catalog:
 

G   = oil paintings

 

Gr = graphics

 

GN, =Oil paintings listed within a supplement (Nachtrag), and GNr, means graphics listed within the supplement.

 

WV- = the work is not listed in Harta’s Work Catalog(2).

 

Her dissertation was presented for her doctorate in 1991, but never was formally published either as a biography or museum-based catalog raisonne. When the dissertation was obtained, it was translated it from German to English. After this was completed, work first began on cataloguing the oil paintings.  The Oil paintings are divided into the four time periods that Baumgarnter used to assess Harta’s oeuvre as it evolved during his life. Moreover, there is a section titled "Supplement" that currently lists Oils that are difficult to place in terms of dating.  As previously explained, Harta did not list all his works, and many were lost or destroyed.(3)  Since more research now is available, the works can be re-catalogued adding new information, and updating exhibition history.  

Cataloging and Chronology: An attempt is made to list works in the order in which they were created. This effort while empirical cannot be guaranteed to be one hundred percent accurate, but the effort attempts to be as evidence-based as possible.  The online listing attempts to clarify and maintain concordance with the two prior catalogs, as well as placing rediscovered works within the approximate period where they were created. A 5th category titled Supplement will list works that are impossible to identify. The Oils will be designated with the letters OL followed by sequential numbering. The paintings listed in the supplement will be designated as OLSUP and hopefully publication of the site will yield further information.  

 

There are many reasons why precise cataloging is difficult. 1. Harta did not always list a work that he created. 2. He did not always maintain his list sequentially, and several works created in a prior year are listed later or not at all. In the event where a painting was listed earlier, but signed at a later date, they are listed in the year of the signing date. 3. Many works lack dates, or a date is not visible from the primary source document.  It’s also possible that dates are located on the back of the work, but access to the originals is not possible at the moment.  Its hoped that curators will be able to assist in this effort at a future time.  4. Titles listed in his Work Catalog can be identical or nearly identical, making precise identification difficult. For example, this is a problem in identification of numerous floral still lifes.  Where there is a higher degree of certainty that the work was painted during one of the four periods, the abbreviation ca. is used. 5. Verification could be improved by being able to see the back of each work, and/or an exhibition catalog where the work was shown, yet even here there can be discrepancy between the source document and Harta’s Work Catalog. Baumgartner encountered these issues as well, but did not have the benefit of the internet, yet here several discrepancies have been identified or corrected.

 

The first listing will be the oil paintings. Therefore, a new designation and numbering is used, referred to as OL listed next to each work.

 

Images: One comment about Baumgartner’s created catalog is that many images are difficult to see.  The same problem is encountered here. Nevertheless, a decision was made to list works even where the image was poor in order that catalog information could be provided and chronological order  maintained.  In some cases, the image even when poor is all we have, since the location of the actual work is unknown or missing. These images are cited as “placeholder images”. In these instances, its hoped that collectors, dealers, and curators can provide better images

 

Supplement Oils: Defined as paintings attributed to Harta but identification cannot even be reasonably estimated. These are characterized as being impossible to verify in Harta’s Work Catalog, and unlisted in Baumgartner’s created catalog. These works will be designated as OLSUP followed by sequential numbering. This would be equivalent to Baumgartner’s “G” designation.

 

Uncorroborated Oil Paintings: This is defined as works whose appearance and location are unknown, but whose existence is referenced in surviving documents, and in relevant research. Therefore, there is no image. These works were not catalogued by Baumgartner, but are listed on an Excel spreadsheet with details from Harta’s Work Catalogue and additional remarks. Please give the Excel file a minute to load up.

Graphics: Harta created hundreds of graphic drawings using different mediums including charcoal, colored chalk, lithography, colored pencil, and watercolor. At this time, his rich body of graphic work is not completed, but work is ongoing, and a large sample of his graphic work has been uploaded, including 240 graphics previously unlisted that will be catalogued.  

Information for each Work:

 

Title: The top box lists the title in English and date or approximate date designated as OL followed by sequential numbering. For example, the first work, Venice is listed as: OL1. In cases where the work was not located within Harta’s catalog (WV-), Edith K. Baumgartner’s title in German is used, and indicated as “per EKB”. In cases where the work is not located in either catalog, the title is designated by the auction house curator, again usually in German or the "locator", mostly myself.

 

Medium: The medium oil, or oil on canvas is listed. In cases where the backing is not known, only the word Oil is used. In a few instances, there is a question whether the work is an oil or a watercolor.

 

Dimensions: Dimensions are listed, always in CM, as Height by Width. In a few cases, inches also is included. Dimensions can vary, and where there is large discrepancy, this is identified in the remarks section. If a work does not list the dimensions, it means the dimensions are unknown.

 

Signature, date, and location of the signature: Signature and date are identified, and the location within the painting are indicated. Some works contain inscriptions. Every attempt is made to transcribe these but sometimes the image is too poor to accurately transcribe what is written. This problem may be solved  if a  a Museum colloborates on the project.

 

Catalog Concordance:  Listed is Harta’s Work Catalog designation (i.e., WV145/1919), followed by Baumgartner’s created catalog designation. WV- means the work could not be located within Harta’s catalog. In some cases, Baumgartner had discrepancies, and these have been identified.

 

Exhibitions: Where the work was exhibited.

 

Literature:  Wherever the work has been referenced in an article, book, catalog, dissertation, etc, the citation is listed.

 

Provenance: Determining the first owner and subsequent ownership of a work requires a skilled Provenance researcher. In some cases, the provenance is known, and is listed, but there are numerous gaps regarding full ownership history. It’s hoped that the baseline work presented in the website will inspire a future collaboration to reveal more information regarding the owners of the works.

 

Location: This is defined as where the work now is located. In the case of Museums, the inventory # is listed. Where the owners are known, the words “private owner” are used to maintain confidentiality. In many cases, the last location is indicated by the phrase…”as of 1991, and/or current whereabouts unknown.

 

Remarks:  This section is used when something is known about the subject, or there is a catalog discrepancy, or to signify that the image is poor. Poor images are listed as Placeholder Image. This section also lists photo credits where applicable.

Links:  Where applicable, links are provided to the museums' digital online collection.

 

-Larry Heller.

 

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1 Harta’s catalog has a gap between 1961 and 1965 where nothing is listed.

 

2 The designation of WV- does not necessarily mean that the work is not listed. This problem mainly is due to title variations that occurred throughout and after his life. Continued research hopefully will lead to better outcomes.

 

3 In 1938, there was a fire in the fifth floor of the department store Schwarz(The Neue Galerie), in Salzburg where Harta works were exhibited. Many pictures were destroyed. Then in 1940, Harta’s apartment in Cambridge was completely destroyed by a V rocket during Germany’s Blitz attack on England,: Baumgartner, E, Diss: F.A. Harta(1884-1967), page 56.