- Faistauer, Schiele, Harta & Co.: Malerei Verbindet: Das Belvedere zu Gast im Salzburg Museum
Copiously illustrated and documented, this catalogue from the Salzburg Museum should be much more widely known than it probably is. It was edited by the Salzburg Museum as a project executed with the Belvedere Museum in [End Page 147] Vienna: "Das Belvedere zu Gast im Salzburg Museum," part of the Salzburg Museum "Edle Gäste" project, which brought works from other museums to Salzburg and connected them to the holdings of the museum there.
As the text introduces the topic: "Die drei Künstler Anton Faistauer, Egon Schiele und Felix Albrecht Harta begegneten sich in Wien. Faistauer und Schiele waren seit 1906 Studienkollegen an der Akademie der bildenden Künste und Harta lernte sie drei Jahre später in einer Künstlerrunde im Café kennen. Woher kamen die drei Maler und in welchen Kreisen verkehrten sie? Wer waren ihre Freunde, Kollegen und Frauen und wo kreuzten sich ihre Wege?" (9). Among those names are Albert Paris Gütersloh, Oskar Kokoschka, Anton Kolig, Alfred Kubin, Elfriede Mauer, Anton Peschka, and Helene Taussig. What this volume accomplishes is nothing less than a full-blown map connecting the art of prewar Vienna to Expressionism (e.g. Der blaue Reiter), its post–World War I inheritors, and (looking forward) to the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism—a map not generally acknowledged in art history conventions that situate Expressionism in Germany and then prefer to skip to the vanguard of Abstract Impressionism incubated in the United States.
Faistauer, Schiele, Harta & Co. tells another story, starting with over twenty pages of year-by-year biographies that not only identify the chosen dramatis personae but also those of their friends, co-workers, mates, and acquaintances who tie their work in Salzburg to Vienna and other European projects—and into literature (Albert Paris von Güterlsloh's novel Tanzende Törin, as well as the literary works of Hermann Bahr and the artists from Monte Verità in Switzerland) and other arts (for instance, the dancer Tilly Losch). Schiele is best remembered today, but Harta was known for his painting and his organization of the 1919 Der Wassermann exhibit (drawing Faistauer from Vienna as co-organizer; see the essay by Stephanie Auer in the volume—the catalogue celebrates this exhibit's centenary, 61–87). Faistauer is best known today for his religious art and for the murals he did for the Kleines Festspielhaus in Salzburg. Yet, as the advertising text for the volume summarizes: "Es war die Zeit, in der Kunst und Kultur ein wichtiger Bestandteil der Gesellschaft waren. Faistauer, Schiele und Harta waren Epizentren der österreichischen Kunst und der Szene ihrer Zeit" (https://www.salzburgmuseum.at/ausstellungen/rueckblick/ausstellungen-seit-2015/faistauer-schiele-harta-co-painting-connects-us/).
After these introductions, there are essays on the diversity of styles [End Page 148] consciously chosen in the era (again by Auer), two essays by Eva Jandl-Jörg (the exhibit's curator) situating this art in Salzburg and Europe, an essay by Jesse Kerstin (curator of twentieth-century art at the Belvedere Museum; he consulted for the exhibit) tracing the various networks around Egon Schiele (extending the map connecting Salzburg and Vienna to European art), a discussion by Nikolaus Schaffer about Schiele and Faistauer as competitors, and an especially interesting essay called "Partnerinnen und Künstlerinnen im Umkreis von Anton Faistauer, Egon Schiele und Felix Albrecht Harta" by Franz Smola, documenting the large presence of women artists in interwar Salzburg and Austria (too many forgotten today).
The introductions include many illustrations, especially portraits of the individuals discussed and the locations associated with them. But the body of the catalogue reproduces an enormous selection of art (paintings and graphics) out of the holdings of the Belvedere Museum and the Salzburg Museum, organized thematically: "Das Umfeld: Landschaft und Reisen"; "Das Private: Frauen und Familie"; "Die Natur: Blumen und Stilleben"; "Die Freunde: Künstler und Mäzene"; and "Die Gruppe: Salzburg und der...