Steinlen's Cats

Francois Fossier, Author, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Illustrator
Francois Fossier, Author, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, Illustrator ABRAMS $14.95 (55p) ISBN 978-0-8109-2429-1
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Swiss-born Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), a Parisian by choice, began his career as a textile designer; cats started to preoccupy him only in 1894. Demonic, prodigiously long-bodied felines tower, sprawl and snooze in this first comprehensive collection of the artist's color cat prints and posters. In one poster-size ad for a brand of hot chocolate, a dewy young girl--modeled on Steinlen's daughter--gingerly defends her cup from a greedy cat. In another, for the Montmartre cafe Chat Noir (Black Cat), an eponymous fiend with prominent whiskers glares down at the viewer. Steinlen also sympathetically observes his subjects aslumber: the etching ``Cat Lying Left to Right'' brilliantly delineates an oblivious, furry bundle. Although some renderings are disappointingly two-dimensional, and not all attempts to capture cat character succeed, the artist never forgets that cats are predators: his sinuous images will inspire respectful shivers. Fossier is a curator at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. (Apr.)
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