"Lying Cat - Théophile-alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923)"Bronze with a nuanced dark brown patina
Cast during the artist's lifetime.
height 7,8 cm
width 16,4 cm
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Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923) was an anarchist artist, painter, engraver, illustrator as well as a Swiss sculptor, naturalized French in 1901. Originally from Germany, the Steinlen family was admitted to the bourgeoisie of Vevey in 1831. His Grandfather Théophile-Christian (Gottlieb) (1779-1847) taught drawing in Vevey, and one of his brothers, Marius Steinlen (1826-1866), was a painter, a pupil of Charles Gleyre.
Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen studied theology at the University of Lausanne for two years, then, in 1879, he turned to art, following a training in industrial ornament drawing in Mulhouse, at Schoenhaupt, before moving to Paris with his wife Émilie in 1881. Having been living since 1883 on the hill Montmartre, Steinlen quickly became acquainted with the artistic personalities who gravitated there and frequented from 1884 the "Black Cat", the cabaret run by Rodolphe Salis. He then knew Aristide Bruant and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who became his friend. He exhibited initially at the Salon des Indépendants, in 1893, then regularly at the Salon des Humistes.
Opponent of injustice, sympathetic to the disinherited, then numerous in Montmartre, Steinlen depicted scenes from the street, factories, mine, staging beggars, workers in misery, ragged kids and prostitutes. Steinlen was also the specialist of cats, which he drew without tiring, in all their fantasy, players, asleep or angry. He also drew female nudes.
Steinlen prefered pencils and pastels to depict the daily life of the street and his small trades and also developed an engraved work, using the same themes as his drawings, or by mixing politics. But it is especially his posters that, like that of the Black Cat Tour, were at the origin of his popularity. He collaborated with various humorous newspapers such as Gil Blas Illustrated, L'Assiette au Beurre, Le Rire and Les Humoristes, which he founded in 1911 with Jean-Louis Forain and Charles Léandre.
Steinlen also had a reputation in sculpture on the theme of cats.