Marcel·lí Porta

Babilonia, foxtrot by J. Demón (Editions Salabert, Paris, 1928)
Babilonia‘, foxtrot by J. Demón (Editions Salabert, Paris, 1928)

After many years our patience has been rewarded! With thanks to Santi Barjau’s blog we have been able to attribute the ‘MPortal’-monogram to a poster designer from Catalonia named Marcel·lí Porta Fernanda. He was born in Barcelona in 1900 or 1903. The joyous Mesopotamian cover for the Babilonia Foxtrot Song appears to be an early work (1928), as most of his other known creations are from the Thirties or later, such as his anti-fascist poster ‘Feixisme No!’ from 1938. Too little is known about the life and work of this artist, but he appears to have been actively involved in the Republican movement with his publication of posters, caricatures, cartoons and illustrations for satirical magazines.

Feixisme NO! Poster designed by Marcel·lí Porta in 1938 for the PSUC (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia)

As many of his compatriots at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 he was forced to exile from his native country, never to come back. He stayed for some time in Montpellier and migrated to Mexico City in 1942. In his new country Porta would be active for many years illustrating books and magazines, worked as a painter and even designed murals. Marcel·lí Porta died without leaving family in Mexico City in 1959 (or 1979 according to other sources).

Portrait of Marcel·lí Porta
Marcel·lí Porta in a photograph published in 1988 in the Journal of the Orfeó Català de Mèxic, an organisation that had become his second home (source: El blog d’història del cartell de Santi Barjau).