Chris Marker’s feline obsession was oft-remarked: cats feature regularly in his films, and in later years he’d often send a picture of a cat to anyone requesting a portrait photo. The Immemory CD-ROM features his cartoon avatar/companion/alter-ego Guillaume, a character who later manifested in three dimensions in Marker’s corner of Second Life.
All of which had me thinking about another Parisian cat obsessive, artist Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859–1923). I’ve written about Steinlen’s cats before, one of which, his Chat Noir poster of 1896, is now a permanent fixture in the tourist shops of the city. Parisians are probably sick of the sight of that particular animal although I imagine Marker would have liked Steinlen’s other cats which range from fine art studies to cartoony sketches. All the examples here are from L’oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Steinlen, a catalogue of the artist’s print work from 1913. The song Ronde Des Marmites concerns the grey cats of Montmartre. At the end of the post there’s an other nod to Monsieur Marker (and Edward Lear) with a trio of Steinlen owls.