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Steinlen –
L’exposition du Centenaire

October 13, 2023 - February 11, 2024

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The Musée de Montmartre hosts the most extraordinary works of art by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen.

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Rentrée du soir, 1897, oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm, Association des Amis du Petit Palais, Geneva, ©Studio Monique Bernaz, Geneva

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen

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In "Compagnie Française des Chocolats et des Thès," Steinlen includes his wife and daughter in the illustration.

Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, 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 wife Emilie 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.


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 Époquesongs of Paul Delmet. Five of his posters were published in Les Maîtres de l'Affiche.

His permanent home, Montmartre and its environs, was a favorite subject throughout Steinlen's life. His daughter Colette was featured in much of his work. 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 included cats in many of his illustrations, and even published a book of his designs, Dessins Sans Paroles Des Chats.

Théophile Steinlen died in 1923 in Paris and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre.

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