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 to produce half-tones… one can pick out a Laroche design rather easily. During the Parisian 1920s, Laroche worked mainly for music publishers Max Eschig and Smyth.
We are happy that the scientific committee at Images Musicales 😉 has unanimously accepted the iconographic evidence to include the above, and five more covers signed ‘LR‘, to the artistic work of Robert Laroche. Hereunder we share with you a potpourri of the graphic arguments…