Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), one of the greatest illustrators of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, but moved permanently to Paris at the age of 23 and became a French citizen.
In addition to posters, song sheets, etchings, murals, and book illustrations, Steinlen did drawings for over 30 magazines, some of which he founded. A politically liberal Montmarte bohemian, he faithfully portrayed all aspects of Parisian life, but gave special attention to the everyday joys and sorrows of working people.
Perhaps no other sector of Steinlen’s art is as strongly associated with his name today as his studies of cats. He never ceased to draw them in all their activities and moods. Cats figure prominently in some of his most famous works, such as his great poster “Pure Sterilized Milk from the Vingeanne.”
The cat drawing in the present volume are reproduced from two rare volumes: a 1933 collection of previously unpublished animal drawings (Chats et autres bêtes, published in an edition of only 545 copies), and a turn-of-the-century album of picture stories without words (Des chats).