Théophile Steinlen  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, frequently referred to as just Steinlen (November 10, 1859December 13, 1923), was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker associated with Le Chat noir cabaret and the Le Rire periodical.

Born in Lausanne, Steinlen studied at the University of Lausanne before taking a job as a designer trainee at a textile mill in Mulhouse in eastern France. In his early twenties he was still developing his skills as a painter when he and his new wife were encouraged by the painter François Bocion to move to the artistic community in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris. Once there, Steinlen was befriended by the painter Adolphe Willette who introduced him to the artistic crowd at Le Chat Noir that led to his commissions to do poster art for the cabaret owner/entertainer, Aristide Bruant and other commercial enterprises.

In the early 1890s, Steinlen's paintings of rural landscapes, flowers, and nudes were being shown at the Salon des Indépendants. His 1895 lithograph titled Les Chanteurs des Rues was the frontispiece to a work entitled Chansons de Montmartre published by Éditions Flammarion with sixteen original lithographs that illustrated the Belle Epoque songs of Paul Delmet. His permanent home, Montmartre and its environs was a favorite subject throughout Steinlen's life and he often painted scenes of some of the harsher aspects of life in the area. In addition to paintings and drawings, he also did sculpture on a limited basis, most notably figures of cats that he had great affection for as seen in many of his paintings.

Steinlen became a regular contributor to Le Rire and Gil Blas magazines plus numerous other publications including L'Assiette au Beurre and Les Humouristes, a short-lived magazine he and a dozen other artists jointly founded in 1911. Between 1883 and 1920, he produced hundreds of illustrations, a number of which were done under a pseudonym so as to avoid political problems due to their harsh criticisms of societal ills.

Théophile Steinlen died in 1923 in Paris and was laid to rest in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre. Today, his works can be found at many important museums around the world including at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Théophile Steinlen" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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