Recerca en Curs Sobre l’Il·lustrador amb la Signatura ‘Pol‘

Mina Divina‘ tango by Juan Viladomat & Juan Misterio. Published in Barcelona (s.d.) by Musical Emporium. Cover illustration signed ‘Pol’.

Our post today is a cry for help. Its title is written in Catalan, which translated, means: ‘Research in progress on the illustrator known as Pol‘. Maybe someone —possibly in Barcelona— can help us identify this very fine illustrator from the Art Deco period.

If Divina doesn’t convince you of Pol’s artistic qualities, perhaps Julieta will.

Julieta‘ another tango by Juan Viladomat. Spanish lyrics by V. Salvatella & Lorca, published by Unión Musical Española (Barcelona, s.d.). Cover illustration by ‘Pol’.

Or can Cléo persuade you?

Cléo‘ Fox-trot composed by J. Demon, published by Musical Emporium (Barcelona, s.d.). Cover design by ‘Pol’.

Our sheet music collection holds all but thirty covers signed with the 3-letter-monogram Pol. Are the three letters the initials of a Spanish/Catalan artist? Or do they simply spell his or her name? A quick survey proves that Pol is not only a popular Catalan first name (like let’s say Paul) but also a common surname.

Four different signatures of the illustrator ‘Pol’.

After unsuccessfully trying to identify the artist for years, thís cover recently gave me a possible clue:

Plumita al Viento‘, a tango composed by Juan Camarasa with lyrics by Pedro Pol, published Madrid by Union Musical Espanola (s.d.), illustration signed ‘Pol’.

The lyrics of the song Plumita al Viento were written by Pedro Pol, and the cover is illustrated by Pol. Could it be the same person? Looking on the net, I found covers of three other songs written by Pedro Pol. And two of these are illustrated by Pol. So our investigation brought us this far, not without feeling an inkling or presentiment of perhaps beginning to solve the year-long puzzle…

Now, inspecting our Pol sheet music, I stumbled upon another cover which could perhaps offer the key to completely unlock our little mystery:

Soc mig Parisenca‘ by P. Moltó & J. M. Plá, with Catalan lyrics by Juan Misterio. Published by Ildefonso Alier (Madrid, s.d.). Illustration signed P. Pol

With this amusing cover (look how well Mercedes Serós is caricatured from the picture insert) our hunch is doubly confirmed, as our illustrator here signed with ‘P. Pol‘. If the P. stands for Pedro, then perhaps our graphical artist has identified himself to be the lyricist Pedro Pol.

From our collection we know that other lyricists doubled as illustrators of sheet music covers. Poet and type designer Georges Auriol springs to mind, but there are others: Jean Tranchant, Nisa and Gene Buck to name but a few.

So our current hypothesis is that Pol is the signature of a gifted person named Pedro Pol, who wrote a few songs and colourfully illustrated many Spanish and Catalan sheet music covers. Possibly, our artist lived and worked in Barcelona during the roaring twenties… Our investigation is stuck, so it is time to put the current state of our research on the net, and call for help:

Ens ajudes a identificar qui va ser el lletrista Pedro Pol, actiu a Barcelona durant els anys vint i potser també il·lustrador de moltes versions de cançons signant el seu bonic treball amb ‘POL‘? Si us plau?

Can you help us to identify who was the lyricist Pedro Pol, active in Barcelona during the twenties and perhaps also the illustrator of many song covers signing his beautiful work with ‘Pol‘? Please?

Pide!‘ by E. Burrull & Ramuncho, published by Ildefonso Alier (Madrid, s.d.), illustrated by (Pedro?) Pol

3 thoughts on “Recerca en Curs Sobre l’Il·lustrador amb la Signatura ‘Pol‘”

  1. Dear friends. I’m so sorry, I can’t identify the illustrator, but I found some information for you related to the the lyricist.

    Pedro Pol, probably Pere Pol (Catalan name) wrote part of his lyrics in Catalan. In your post you show some: Petons (Kisses), Sóc mig parisenca (I’m half Parisian);

    I have found references to another : Per una nina (For a doll).
    The item news from La Vanguardia, an important newspaper in Barcelona, cited it (see attached image for you) in november 28, 1928, page 5. This song was broadcast by Radio Barcelona on that date.

    Also, you can find here the lyrics. If it existed a sheet music, I wasn’t able to find any image:

    Here it is said (in Catalan):
    «It is a version of the couplet written by Pere Pol with music by Vicenç Quirós, which used to be performed by Pepita Ramos, “La Goyita”. The first reference we found was in 1925».

    I take this opportunity to congratulate you for your always interesting contributions. It is always enriching to visit your page.

    Your friend in Barcelona,

  2. Dear friends.

    I have tried to find information about Pere Pol in various sources (especially Catalan and Spanish magazines and newspapers of the time, accessible in various digital newspaper archives), but my search has been unsuccessful.

    I have asked about this to my colleague and friend Santi Barjau, an authority on the subject of Catalan illustrators, poster design and graphic arts in Catalonia from the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth century. Here is his response:

    “It seems to me that Pere Pol — a case I already considered a long time ago — is not documented anywhere else as an illustrator [other than in these sheet music], he must have been a well-endowed amateur for illustration who worked in the music world. I’ll check to see if I find out anything new”.

    The mystery remains unsolved …

    Your friend in Barcelona,
    capital of Catalonia.

    1. Hello Pau,

      You certainly contributed a piece to the completion of the puzzle: Pere Pol, instead of looking for Pedro. Thank you for your continued research. I remember Santi Barja from his blog, where in 2014 we found the solution to another question: Marcel·lí Porta .
      We hope to hear from you, or Santi, soon.

      All the best.

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