It is noted that Hartmann works in Dresden and Berlin and probably visited Munich from time to time as it was the art capital of Germany at the time. He painted mostly historical subjects but works of opulent interiors and genre scenes occasionally appear in the market. It is difficult to determine why but works by Hartmann rarely surface and little is noted about his artistic life. It is quite possible that he painted throughout his life but also had to earn a living in some other manner that restricted a large output of paintings and prevented his reputation from flourishing.
A Portée de Main is a virtuoso example of great brushwork and technical understanding of painting in many respects. Hartmann's brushwork in this wonderful genre scene is fluid, quickly applied and unlabored, which is the sign of a very gifted artist. Yet for those who know, it is clear that he also is a great draftsman, as the rendering of forms in this picture is exquisitely understated and handled. The color palette in this work is very light and almost Mediterranean in feel, despite the fact that the artist has painted it in Munich. The 'Munich' palette adopted by most artists there was still quite dark in 1882 and yet Hartmann has clearly decided to go against that influence.
Thomas Colville Fine Art (label verso)
The Art of Collecting, Flint Institute of the Arts, 29 November 2002-5 January 2003