Harald Moltke

A Private Collection of Danish Porcelain

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Harald Moltke


"Harald Viggo, Count of Moltke, was a painter and an author. He bas born 14.12.1871 at Aldersro near Elsinore and died 24.6.1960 at Frederiksberg, burried at Reerslev Cementary. His parents were Oskar Peter August Count Moltke and Karen Marie Jensdatter. On 30.3.1910 Moltke married Else Comtesse Molte in Buerup. She was born 2.3.1888 at Conradineslyst, and died 10.1.1986 in Copenhagen, daughter of court hunter Otto Joachim Adam Count Molte to Nørager and Ingeborg Valentiner.


Harald Moltke grew up in Yorkville, South Carolina. When the father died in 1882, the mother decided to return to Denmark. After military service, he became an artist associated with Danish scientific expeditions in the North Atlantic. As a scientific draftsman, he traveled in May 1898 under the geologist K.J.V. Steenstrup to Greenland with landing in Godhavn. Moltke emphasizes in the memorial work Life's Travel a mother boat ride in the Bay of Disco as one of the most breathtaking in his life. After returning home, the Greenlandic images were exhibited in the new Mineralogical Museum in Copenhagen, and Moltke was invited to take part in a new expedition to explore the polar light in Greenland. The head of the study was director of the Meteorological Institute Adam Paulsen, and the expedition took place in the context of the intensive polar research of the last century. The expedition in 1899-1900, however, came to Iceland instead of Greenland. The majority of Moltke's pictures were created at the base of the expedition at Akureyri, and they were later on display in the Society of Sciences and in Paris. Moltke also participated in the 2nd Danish Northern Lights Expedition to northern Finland. Here he lived in Utsjoki Kirkeby, to which the Sami people came for Sunday worship. The pictures from the two expeditions were intended to be published in a large work by Adam Poulsen, and the Reichstag granted DKK 17,000 for lithographs after the paintings.

These were to be done by J. Bentzen-Bilkvist, who completed 11 motifs from Iceland and Finland. However, Adam Paulsen died before the work was written and the lithographs were not published. Moltke now looked forward to following the more beaten-down artist's road with trips to Paris and Rome, but on December 31, 1901, he met Knud Rasmussen, who persuaded him to take part in an artistic-literary expedition to Greenland following Ludvig Mylius- Erichsen. Mylius-Erichsen's and Moltke's illustrated work Greenland remained a torso of the planned major work to portray contemporary Greenland. During his stay in the Thule area, Moltke was afflicted with a serious illness, presumably Trikinosis, which caused paralysis and a disability that forever hampered his artistic performance. During the reconvalescence in the summer of 1903, his main work became the sensitive recording portraits of the Eskimos at Cape York. Moltke came to work on the Arctic material in Denmark, among others. In the form of portraits, e.g. Mylius-Erichsen and Knud Rasmussen. Furthermore, in a late Impressionist style, he performed portrait assignments and portrayals of family life with his wife and children. In the memories Life's journey, Moltke explains an unusual artist's life.

Moltke was student of A. Hous in 1888. He was at the Artistic Academy in Copenhagen January 1889-May 1893.

Moltke travelled to Greenland 1898, 1902-04; Iceland 1899-1900; Finland 1900-01; Italy 1910, 1937; Paris 1921.

Moltke was Second Lieutenant in 1894. He joined the Royal Copenhagen Factory 1907-08 as signing artist. Employed by Bing & Grondahl 1908-14; messenger of the Arctic Institute. Advice from approx. 1955; honory member of the Frederiksberg Literature and Arts Forcum from 1956 on."


Main information source: Kunstindex Danmark & Weilbachs Kunstnerleksikon

French Ship Vase
French Ship Vase

Artist:                       Harald Moltke

Date of Production: 1908-14

Unique Number:      9

Height:                     6,5 cm

Diameter:                 42 cm

Motif:                        Eskimo in Greenlandic Landscape

Remarks:                 

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