Lithos by Xavier Cugat at Brok

See him marry Rita Montaner! empathise with his doggies! buy me a print!

Rita Montaner marrying Xavier Cugat, by Xavier Cugat, @<a href=''>Brok</a>.

Rita Montaner marrying Xavier Cugat, by Xavier Cugat, @Brok.

[Updated as per comments]
There are actually so many of these things around that you wonder whether they’re not being farmed in some Manchegan mushroom cave, and I’d be surprised if the three on offer next Tuesday raise more than 100 apiece. However the one above is rather special, since it may portrays his little-known wedding in 1918 to the great Rita Montaner, whose father was white and her mother mulatta. His trademark chiahuahuas and violin also appear in the other two images, illustrating the song “One night in Napoli” and some unclear happening in Central Park, presumably not too far away from the Waldorf-Astoria.

Here’s some of the kind of stuff I like by Cugat–I’m not so keen on the post-war, and the 60s belong to Esquivel:

I believe a male voice quintet somewhere is still singing a bunch of my arrangements of the early repertoire. If they want to donate one of the three, I will find somewhere to hang it–the official line is that they are figurative and too big.

Video originally posted featuring the Rita Montaner who didn’t marry Cugat:


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  1. I am a bit confused. Some Spanish biographies of Cugat refer his first wive as “Rita Montaner, the famous Cuban singer”. But Cuban references, and English language wikipedia state that Rita Montaner married in 1918 ( same year ) to a Dr.Alberto Fernández, and that they had two sons and stayed together until his death. Two different Rita Montaners? An extremely fast annulment of marriage?

  2. Here
    is a quite plausible account of that years. No trace of any Rita Montaner, and Carmen Castillo is described as first wife. That 1948 autobiography is probably the source, and sure is a good read.
    So that first marriage is the one painted? I see some resemblance of the bride with Dolores del Río( too lazy to put a link to an image ). But the old bugger lied inmoderately, so who knows?

  3. I think this is his fantasy wedding to Rita Montaner, but who’s to say he drew it himself? GNA’s take on 1914 to 1930 is interesting for its glimpses of Francesco Cugat the Spanish set designer and Xavier Cugat’s Hungarian Orchestra, but no trace of Caruso:

      Pay-Per-View Los Angeles Times Oct 6, 1927

      expected to appear are Charlie Well- man. Bill Hatch, pianist: Ray Kel- logg . violinist: Peggy Mathews. blues singer, . and Xavier Cugat. concert Vtoinlst.

      $3.95 New York Times Oct 28, 1923

      Of Frances Cugat, a young Spanish painter born in Barcelona, Zoe Beckley says in part: "Francesc Cugat brings you into, the luminous realm of color,

    3. With the Players and Producers
      $3.95 New York Times Feb 8, 1925

      The settings, designed by Franceseo Cugat, a Spanish artist, are under construction. Herbert Brenon, who produced tile film version of "Peter Pan," has

      New York Times May 22, 1921

      assisted by Ada Tyrone, soprano, and 7 Cugat, violin. The chorus will sing classics of Handel, and Gounod, and a group of popular songs.

      Pay-Per-View Los Angeles Times Sep 5, 1928

      Roy Fox, the whispering cor- , and Xavier Cugat with his stringed tango orchestra, will pro- vide exceptional musical entertain- ment.

      Pay-Per-View Los Angeles Times Apr 8, 1928

      Xavier Cugat. Spanish violinist from Barcelona. will appear In solo obbligato work with the club. The program will include: "The Kavanaugh" (Bullard:)

      Pay-Per-View Los Angeles Times Dec 4, 1929

      Another spotlight program of this station today will be the presenta- tion of lilting melodies of Old Spain. at 8 pm. when Xavier Cugat, con- cert violinist

    8. Society of Cinemaland
      Pay-Per-View Los Angeles Times Jun 30, 1929

      Dec- orations were lilies. yellow roses and delphinium, and Xavier Cugat s Hungarian orchestra played during dinner. Thalberg (Norma Shearer.

    9. 25000 OUT TO HEAR TEN SUNDAY CONCERTS; Chaliapin, McCormack,…
      New York Times Nov 28, 1921

      Three Spanish artists, Francisca Catalina, soprano; and Yalerlano Gii, tenor, with Xavler Cugat. violin, gave an evening concert at the Town Hall.

      Pay-Per-View Chicago Tribune Jul 13, 1924

      At a local gallery mayl be seen a !group of paintings by the young Span- lard, Francesco Cugat. It is said of his pictures that they "bring you into the

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