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date: 12 November 2019

Steinlen, Théophile-Alexandrelocked

(b Lausanne, Nov 10, 1859; d Paris, Dec 13, 1923).
  • Phillip Dennis Cate

Extract

(b Lausanne, Nov 10, 1859; d Paris, Dec 13, 1923).

French illustrator, printmaker, painter and sculptor, of Swiss birth. After studying at the University at Lausanne and working as an apprentice designer in a textile factory in Mulhouse, Steinlen arrived in Paris in 1881 and quickly established himself in Montmartre, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In 1883 the illustrator Adolphe Willette introduced him to the avant-garde literary and artistic environment of the Chat Noir cabaret which had been founded in 1881 by another Swiss expatriot, Rodolphe Salis. Steinlen soon became an illustrator of its satirical and humorous journal, Chat noir, and an artistic collaborator with writers such as Emile Zola, poets such as Jean Richepin, composers such as Paul Delmet, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and, most important, the singer and songwriter Aristide Bruant, all of whom he encountered at the Chat Noir. Bruant’s lyrics incorporate the argot of the poor, the worker, the rogue, the pimp and the prostitute, for whom Steinlen’s empathy had been awakened on reading Zola’s novel ...

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