I thought it would be easy to paint the Moretti guy. It turned into a rabbit hole.

So, a bit of back-story. There is a Stammtisch (the usual suspects, in the phrasing of Captain Renault from Casa Blanca) that meets almost weekly on Thursdays at some tavern in Bern to discuss the week and the state of civilization as we know it. Lately we’ve been going to Trattoria Bella Italia, an otherwise unremarkable pizza restaurant in the Europaplatz area of Bern, where they serve Birra Moretti on tap. They have cute coasters with the guy in the green suit that is the beer’s logo. I thought, I should look up the source image, and create a watercolour of this logo just for fun. That’s when things went off the rails.

It seems this new image is a rework of the Franca Segala post-world war II billboards, signs and and calendars with a history. From what I can piece together from online sources Udine Today, Michele Tomaselli and a blogger with handle cjalzumit, the source image is of one Mr. Romed Schreiner taken on Palm Sunday April 2, 1939 by Erika Groth-Schmachtenberger (1906-1992) in the Stangl Inn in Thaur in Tyrol near Innsbruck Austria — about 300 kilometers north of the official origin story and at the time, annexed by the German Third Reich since March 12, 1938.

Now don’t get me wrong, Moretti is a good “Italian” beer, but currently it’s about as Friulian as any Heineken product, being brewed in Sardinia, Lombardi, Apulia, Aosta, and probably other non-Italian locations - in fact, it was even owned by Labatt until 1996. At the time though, it must have been quite a scandal for the supposedly local Italian beer to use a Nazi German image as the basis for its logo - but there was a lot of laissez-faire after the war. Apparently she received 800 marks (37,200 lire) in exchange for rights to the image after a minor legal dispute, so I suppose it’s legitimate now.

Data Description
Title Baffo
Artist Derrick Oswald
Medium Watercolour on acid-free, cellulose, fine-grained, natural-white paper
Dimensions 29cm x 28.4cm
Dimensions (w × h cm) 29 × 28.3
Date 2023

watercolour of Baffo



A Canadian electrical engineer living in Switzerland, developing software for over 40 years, e.g. big data for electric distribution utilities and the cloud security space, but now retired.

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