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).


InnoCenzi (monogram) Innocenzi

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.

Sheet music covers, illustrated by Carlo Innocenzi (ca 1928)
Sheet music covers by Carlo Innocenzi (ca 1928). View more at Images Musicales.

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. 

Innocenzi_Carlo-portrait marcella-rivi-sonia-pearlswig

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.

Viva caro Carlo, viva!

Corpo Bandistico Carlo Innocenzi in Monteleone di Spoleto (2010)


Happy polka:

"In delirio", polka by Camillo Renzetti (1908)
In Delirio‘, polka by Camillo Renzetti, published by Carisch & Jänichen (Milano, 1908), illustrator unknown

And sad polka…

"Polka", composed by E. Le Bourdais du Rocher. Lithography by Marie-Alexandre Alophe (1812-1883)
Polka‘ composed by E. Le Bourdais du Rocher and published by Paté (Paris, s.d.). Lithography by Marie-Alexandre Alophe (1812-1883)

'Ceci et ça' about Illustrated Sheet Music