Carlo Innocenzi is a wonderful man. He died in Rome in 1962 but is still very much alive. Firstly, there are his art-deco covers which he designed for popular Italian songs: they keep you happy all day long.
Secondly, as a trained violist and composer he launched several popular songs of his own, a.o. ‘Il primo amore‘ and ‘Prigoniero di un Sogno‘. Part of this success was due to the lyrics by Marcella Rivi, nom de plume of Sonia Pearlwing (1910-1981), the woman he promptly maried. In the late 1930s he started working for Italian cinema and was hardly able to stop: he composed more than 150 songs and scores for the screen.
But in the third place, Innocenzi is still amongst us because in the Umbrian town where he was born in 1899, Monteleone di Spoleto, a street band named Corpo Bandistico Carlo Innocenzi brings his name and memory very much aLIVE.
The lovely lady on the cover is enjoying a glass of asti spumante, a sparkling white Italian wine from Piemonte. The sheet music was published around 1914.
Thanks to Michael Hölters, an art history student at the university of Vienna we were able to identify the monogram of the artist as belonging to Marianne Hitschmann-Steinberger. She was an Austrian Jewish artist who studied with Adolf Böhm and Friedrich König (both members of the Vienna Secession). She is mainly known as bookplate (ex libris) artist and illustrator of children’s books and postcards. In 1919 she died at the age of 32 of pneumonia in the flu pandemic, followed three days later by the death of her husband.
In the ex libris, she created for her husband, you can clearly see the typical emphasis of Jugendstil on two-dimensional linear design. And she was influenced by Japonism as made clear by this drawing and by the beautiful picture of her in a kimono-style dress.
Robert Laroche is a wonderful illustrator. Dreamy women, sensual decorations, amazing flowers, pistachio and fuchsia colours, elegant typography, languorous couples, typical ink speckles… one recognizes a Laroche instantly. During the Parisian 1920s Laroche mainly worked for Max Eschig and Smyth.
We are happy that the scientific committee at Images Musicales 😉 has unanimously accepted the iconographic evidence to include those and five more covers signed with ‘LR’ to the artistic work of Robert Laroche. Hereunder we share with you a potpourri of the graphic arguments…