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

7 thoughts on “Steinlen’s cats”

  1. I love Steinlein’s cats – such elegant portraits, especially Le Chat Noir. Of course I have used one of his cat pics on my blog heading.

    Ps John, I am in the process of showing off covers from my old Penguin collection on my Eye Candy Blog.

  2. Thanks, Pignouf, that monogram sketch is really nice. And I nearly posted his Art Nouveau cat here as well.

    Anne: that’s well-timed since I was going to do another Penguin-related post. I’ll give your pages a mention.

  3. I would love to find these very Steinlen prints.

    The Apotheosis of the Cats (c. 1890).

    The End of a Goldfish.

    I have searched and found others but not these. My into to him was via post cards from the Albert and Victoria Museum.

    Thanks for posting these!

  4. I am as well looking for a print of The End of a Goldfish. Cannot find one anywhere!

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