F.A. Harta.com was launched in 2021 intended as an archive and foundation for ongoing research to collect and verify Harta’s large number of artworks (henceforth referred to as objects). It is an illustrated catalog, but technically, not a catalog raisonné. However, I am currently working with Stefan Üner, an art historian based in Vienna on a definitive print-based catalog which will represent the optimal source document regarding Harta works.
It is estimated that Harta created up to and more than 3,000 works drawn in various mediums consisting of oil paintings, watercolor, charcoal, Ink, Lithography, Pastel, Rotel, etc. Given that he drew before, during, and after two World Wars, and that many works were destroyed or went missing makes it impossible to catalog his entire oeuvre.(1) Nevertheless, a sincere attempt is made to locate as many objects as possible. Moreover, the website format allows works to be rapidly classified as well as updating prior information. Finally, as previously mentioned, it serves as a foundation for a planned printed catalog raisonné that will be the definitive source for describing Harta works.
There are three main sources for identifying Harta works. The first is Harta’s handwritten ledger that he titled Verzeichnis der Gemälde und Zeichnungen des Malers F.A. Harta, 1906-1939; the second, Paintings and Drawings of F.A. Harta, 1939-1966. These two ledgers were maintained from 1906 up to 1966, and provide a wealth of information on exhibitions and provenance.(2) The third source is Edith Baumgartner’s unpublished doctoral dissertation from the University of Salzburg titled F.A. Harta (1884- 1967) presented in 1991 in two volumes. Volume 1 covered Harta’s life, exhibitions, and analysis of his oeuvre, while Volume 2 consisted of a transcription of Harta’s Werkverzeichnis, and her own “created catalog of works with illustrations”. She managed to catalog approximately 700 works, with approximately half being oils, and half being graphics. (3)
Cataloging and Chronology.
Works begin with the first known year and will be designated with P for Paintings, Z for Drawings, and D for Prints. The letter comes first followed by the year, and the number in numerical order. For example, if there are 10 paintings in 1910, then they will be numbered P-1910-1, P-1910-2, etc. Graphics will be designated with “Z”, and prints with “D”. This system permits additions to be made rapidly and efficiently without having to go back and renumber the entire set. Currently only the Oils have been numbered. Designating numbers for the Graphics and prints will occur when the printed catalog raisonné is completed. For the website, an additional category is included, titled “Supplement Oils”, defined as paintings that are nearly impossible to verify as having been drawn by Harta. These works will be designated PS, and unless new research emerges unlikely to be included in the planned catalog raisonné.(4) “Uncorroborated Oil Paintings”, defined as works whose appearance and location are unknown, but whose existence is referenced in surviving documents initially was on earlier versions of the website only as a spreadsheet but has been removed, since this is in the process of being formally catalogued. Every effort is made to list objects in the order Harta created them, but while empirical, cannot be guaranteed to be one hundred percent accurate.
Information for each Work
Abbreviations: A list of abbreviations German to English is on the site. It is recommended to become familiar with these.
Images: In discussions with Austrian curators, a frequent observation of Baumgartner’s catalog was that images were difficult to see. We are constantly working to obtain suitable images for the website, as well as high-resolution images for the book. Since the website first went online, the number of suitable images has vastly increased. In some instances, however, the poor image is all we have, and these are designated as “placeholder images”.
Main Title Box: The Designation followed by the title in English. For the Graphics, the date followed by the title.
2nd Text Box: The second text box lists the title in German. Wherever possible, the exact title in German per Harta is listed. Titles may be modified to account for modern usage. For certain objects, a title in English or German may be unnecessary since the title is self-explanatory in the Main Title Box. Where a date is estimated, its preceded by “um” (meaning around).
Medium: The medium when known is listed. In cases where the medium is unknown, no guesses are attempted. With some Oil paintings, the canvas type is unknown, and is listed only as “Oil”.
Dimensions: Dimensions as listed are always listed in Centimeters, Height by Width. In some cases, inches are provided. Dimensions from sources can vary, but if there is a large discrepancy, its noted. If dimensions are not listed, it means we do not know the dimensions of the object.
Signature, & Date: A Signature location always is listed. When the object has no date either on the front or back, it’s considered undated, but that term is not given in the description. As previously mentioned, an estimated date (um) is located in the Main Title Box, and after the title in German in the Second Text Box.
Exhibitions: When we can source verify the object to an exhibition catalog, that exhibition is listed. Because of space limitations, these tend to be heavily abbreviated. A Separate Tab listing all Exhibitions with very precise titles is provided on the website. In some instances, we know that Harta registered works, but the works were not included in the catalog. Some exhibitions did not print catalogues and or the catalogue cannot be located, an * indicates this situation.
Literature: All places where the object has been referenced. This can be from an auction or exhibit catalog, dissertation, monograph, book, newspaper review, etc. For objects often exhibited or written about, space does not permit for all known literature citations. The print Catalog Raisonné will contain all known references. A major change from the original methodology was to abandon the listing of concordances. These now are literature references. Baumgartner’s reference will be listed as follows:
Baumgartner 1991 II, S. 7, 91, WV Nr. G 69, mit Abb.
The literature reference will be written in German, as this is the original bibliographical citation. In the example, this shows that the reference is located in volume 2 of the dissertation; the page number or numbers (S. 7, 91) and/or the catalogue number (WV Nr. G 69), with an illustration (mit Abb.)
Harta references will be cited as:
Harta 1906-1939, o.S.(no page Nr.), WV Nr. and Harta 1939-1966, o.S., WV Nr.
Provenance: It’s beyond the budget and scope of this project to provide a complete provenance chain, but in many cases, a legitimate chain of ownership is listed.
Location: Where the work currently resides. Many works are in Museums, so the inventory number is provided. Due to privacy considerations, names of private owners are only provided when permission is given. Many works are lost, presumed lost, or destroyed, so this is listed as “Unknown”.
Remarks: Where space permits, additional comments are provided.
(1) In 1938, there was a fire on the 5th floor of the Department Store Schwarz that hosted the Neue Galerie in Salzburg where many Harta works were destroyed. . In 1940, Harta’s apartment in Cambridge, England was hit during a German blitz attack. (See Baumgartner, Vol. 1, pg 57.)
(2) Harta’s ledger from 1939-1966 has a gap between 1961 and 1965 where no work is listed.
(3)These three major sources are referred to as WV(Werkverzeichnis).
(4)Occasionally works not drawn by Harta come up for auction. Because of the website, we now are contacted by reputable Auction Houses, and Museums whenever a question of whether Harta created the work arises. In the vast majority of cases, these are easily spotted. They lack source documentation, artistic qualities, and are not homogenous with Harta’s style in any given period. Often, the signature is questionable. The decision to not include these in the print catalog raisonné is derived by consensus.