Antal Hekler (1882-1940) was one of the central figures of Hungarian classical archaeology and art historiography in the first half of the 20th century. He began his career at the Hungarian National Museum and continued at the Museum of Fine Arts (where he laid the foundation for the Antique Collection), he organized the short-lived Hungarian Scientific Institute in Constantinople (1916-1918) and from 1918 until his death he headed the Art History Department at the Pázmány Péter University. The work of his pupils determined 20th century Hungarian art historiography.
The presented letters shed light on the start of Hekler’s career. After graduation in law, he changed professions. Upon his personal encounter with the art of classical antiquity he began studying classical archaeology; he was encouraged to do so by his family and friends, too. He enrolled at the university of Munich where he became one of Adolf Furtwängler’s favourite students. He obtained his doctoral degree under his supervision in 1907. During his studies he pursued correspondence with his patron in Budapest, József Hampel (curator of the Old Collection in the National Museum), informing him of the academic life in Munich, his researches, travels, forming scholarly contacts all over Europe. In Munich, then Paris, London, Italy he met the leading researchers, curators of leading museums. He did not only publish his research finding in German at that time, but the Archaeologiai Értesítő in Budapest edited by Hampel also carried writings by him. Back home Hampel took him on in the National Museum. (He participated in the excavations in Dunapentele [the ancient Intercisa] where he also wrote letters.) In addition to letters addressed to Hampel, some others written in Munich add information about the beginnings of Hekler’s career.