George William Harting was born on December 11th, 1877 in Little Falls, Minnesota. Not much is recorded of his early years, except while still a young man, Harting longed for a career in the arts. He migrated towards New York City with the intent to study at the Art Students League, an Institution that was affordable to the student yet housed an illustrious staff. Like most beginning artists, he was required to use pencil crayon or charcoal to hone his abilities. Although the school encouraged individualism, some discipline was required. After completing the required course of prerequisites he entered the more advanced studios. The instruction encouraged direct observation of the live model which included lectures, anatomical instruction along with painting from the nude. Would-be portrait painters and illustrators benefited from rendering a variety of models in various attitudes with costume motifs.
He studied under Robert Henri, (1865-1929) who had forged a career as a noted illustrator. At the time he was more respected for his facility of the handling of his brush. Harting also had the privilege of studying with William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) and Kenneth Hays Miller (1876-1952). Unlike some of the early academies, these instructors at The League allowed the creative student to develop according to abilities.
George Harting left School confident that he could work to professional standards of his peers. Good illustrators were in demand by a mélange of publishers. The period was considered the Golden Age of Illustration. Many periodicals exist as a testament to the artists accomplishments. He excelled using a variety of media. Hartings works were rendered in watercolors, gouache, oils etc. His production was varied. Some examples survived, including a cartoon titled (The Smokey City) collection of The Pennsylvania Carnegie Library of Pittsburg. He did interior illustrations for Parsons (1906-1907). He did cover work for Life (Owl Chasing a Rabbit) (1909), and Colliers commissioned interior illustrations. Harding was creative as well as industrious. He also produced some notable interior and cover work for Harpers Brothers New York and Vogue. The artist was able to acquire space at The Studio Building located at West Tenth Street NYC. Examining one of his works rendered for Harpers (Two Victorian Women Enter a Parlor) circa (1910), it bears the address on the verso.
After a successful career as a competent illustrator, G.W. Harting may have harkened the advice of his teacher Robert Henri "I’m interested in art as a means of life not as making a living." The Golden Age of Illustration was beginning to peak in the 1930s. The demand for fine renderings began to dwindle. The Great Depression was beginning to take its toll. Harting was not deterred. He was a member of many prestigious organizations included among them was The Society of Illustrators and The Salmagundi Club NYC.
As early as 1925 G.W. Harting began a career in the photographic arts. He produced many works of merit and is included amongst some of the most respected and famous photographers. An original work is owned by The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC., titled The Open Air Store (1925). Another example of this period is titled Ropes and Spars (1921-1929). He was represented by Photos of Clematis at The Asian Art International Flower Show Mass (1934.) He produced a work titled Chimney Pots New York Gelatin print (1959). He exhibited at the Pittsburgh Photo Salon. His works were continually viewed in noted shows as far off as Japan.
Written by Jim Kieley Woodbury Ct. August 28th, 2006