Steinlen’s cats


Chat Noir poster (1896).

We had Louis Wain yesterday so it only seems right to follow with the other notable cat artist of the period, and also the one whose work I prefer, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859–1923).

Steinlen’s designs for the Montmartre cabaret, Le Chat Noir, of which there are many variations, are dismayingly ubiquitous in contemporary Paris, so much so that you quickly tire of his haloed feline when wandering the streets. Parisians regard Steinlen’s posters the way Londoners regard pictures of Beefeaters; they’re part of the background noise of the capital city, intended solely for tourists. A shame because it really is a splendid cat.


The Apotheosis of the Cats (c. 1890).

Steinlen’s cat pieces run the gamut of styles and variations, from delicate life studies and bronze sculptures to works such as the three-metres wide mural above depicting the advent of some ultimate feline deity. Among his many drawings he produced a number of marvellous cartoon sequences like the one below featuring cats fighting, playing and generally getting into trouble. Some of these can be found on Flickr here and here.

For more Steinlen, including his non-feline works, there’s


The End of a Goldfish.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Louis Wain at Nunnington Hall
The Boy Who Drew Cats
8 out of 10 cats prefer absinthe
Monsieur Chat

Arthur Tress’s Hermaphrodite


Hermaphrodite behind Venus and Mercury (1973).

We had Austin Spare and absinthe yesterday. Looking at some of Arthur Tress‘s photographs today I was reminded me of one of Spare’s hermaphrodite studies (below). The photo is from a series, Theater of the Mind, which Tress created during the 1970s.

Arthur Tress at GLBTQ


Gynander: Mutation by Besz-Mass (1955).

Previously on { feuilleton }
Czanara’s Hermaphrodite Angel

Austin Spare absinthe


An Austin Spare pastel (?), Astral Body and Ghost, from the collection of Cyclobe‘s Ossian Brown adorns the label of this edition of Absinthe Brevans. Would the artist approve? Do we have to ask? He spent much of his life haunting pubs and I’d be very surprised if he hadn’t tried absinthe when he was a young Decadent. Absinthe Brevans A.O. Spare is €35 from

Via Further.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists
Absinthe girls
Austin Spare’s Behind the Veil
8 out of 10 cats prefer absinthe
Austin Osman Spare

Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists


The Chemical Wedding by Madeline Von Foerster (2008).

Art lovers in the NYC area are advised to get down to the Saturday opening of this exhibition at the Dabora Gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for some great paintings and a free glass of absinthe. Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists is curated by Pam Grossman who runs one of my favourite art sites, Phantasmaphile. Further details can be found at the gallery pages which include links to the artists’ websites.

Dabora Gallery and Phantasmaphile’s Pam Grossman are proud to usher in the spring season with the group show “Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists,” on view from March 14th through April 12th, 2009. It features fourteen of the most vital and visionary women artists working in the US today.

In literal terms, a fata morgana is a mirage or illusion, a waking reverie, a shimmering of the mind. Named for the enchantress Morgan le Fay, these tricks of perception conjure up a sense of glimpsing into another world, whether it be the expanses of an ethereal terrain, or the twilit depths of the psyche. The artists of “Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists” deftly utilize the semiotics of mysticism, fantasy, and the subconscious in their work, thereby guiding the viewer through heretofore uncharted realms – alternately shadowy or luminous, but always inventive.

Yoko Ono recently said, “I think all women are witches, in the sense that a witch is a magical being.” Each artist in this show is a sorceress in her own right. Endowed with fecund imaginations and masterful craftsmanship, their work transforms the viewer: we become spellbound, bearing witness to their attempts to reconcile the desire for a diurnal beauty with the lure of a lush and riotous inner wilderness. The fantastical is counterpoint to the ferocious, the monstrous to the marvelous. Allusions to myth and metamorphosis abound, as these works channel their own heroine spirits and tell their own secret tales. Here, frame is magic threshold, bidding us to take a breath, and cross over.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive