Who Is Freddy Balta?

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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His portrait rendered by Würth is on a delightful poster just outside my office. But who is he really? For 20 years I didn’t bother to ask this question, accepting the image at face value. But posters are not made just to look good. Even if detached from their contextual moorings, they have meanings. So now I want to know more about the face and its values.

The subject of this circa 1938 poster has long been an enigma.

Balta was, in fact, one of Europe’s most popular accordion virtuosos—probably French, but possibly Belgian. His recorded music is downloadable. His sheet music is purchasable. His songs are on iTunes too. Here’s where you can get his melody as a ringtone. And here is a YouTube video of Freddy playing Toccata en rémineur very impressively.

Still, I don’t know much about his life, his successes, his aspirations. So, if any of you do, please share your information.


Print‘s August issue is devoted to trash. It includes a special section guest designed by Sulki & Min; a visual essay by Jillian Tamaki; a look into the garbage cans and recycling bins of 18 designers; and stories by Rick Poynor, Steven Heller, Debbie Millman, Fritz Swanson, Michèle Champagne, and more. Order your copy, or download a PDF version, at MyDesignShop.com..