Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (November 10, 1859 – December 13, 1923), was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker.
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.
In the early 1890s, 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 Époque songs 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 and he often painted scenes of some of the harsher aspects of life in the area. 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."
Steinlen became a regular contributor to Le Rire and Gil Blas magazines plus numerous other publications including L'Assiette au Beurre and Les Humouristes, a short-lived magazine he and a dozen other artists jointly founded in 1911.Between 1883 and 1920, he produced hundreds of illustrations, a number of which were done under a pseudonym so as to avoid political problems because of their harsh criticisms of societal ills. His art influenced the work of other artists, including Pablo Picasso.
Théophile Steinlen died in 1923 in Paris and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre. Today, his works can be found at many museums around the world including at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., United States. A stone monument by Pierre Vannier was created for Steinlen in 1936; it is located in Square Joël Le Tac in Paris.
Montmartre is a large hill in Paris's 18th arrondissement. It is 130 m (430 ft) high and gives its name to the surrounding district, part of the Right Bank in the northern section of the city. The historic district established by the City of Paris in 1995 is bordered by rue Caulaincourt and rue Custine on the north, rue de Clignancourt on the east, and boulevard de Clichy and boulevard de Rochechouart to the south, containing 60 ha. Montmartre is primarily known for its artistic history, the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur on its summit, and as a nightclub district. The other church on the hill, Saint Pierre de Montmartre, built in 1147, was the church of the prestigious Montmartre Abbey. On August 15, 1534, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier and five other companions bound themselves by vows in the Martyrium of Saint Denis, 11 rue Yvonne Le Tac, the first step in the creation of the Jesuits.
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Art Nouveau posters and graphic arts flourished and became an important vehicle of the style, thanks to the new technologies of color lithography and color printing, which allowed the creation of and distribution of the style to a vast audience in Europe, the United States and beyond. Art was no longer confined to art galleries, but could be seen on walls and illustrated magazines.
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