Probably best known for his posters, the Swiss artist Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923) loved cats. As a young boy, he drew cats in the margins of his books and grew up to live in a house he named, “Cat’s Cottage”. While living in Paris, his house on the Rue Caulaincourt became a well-known gathering place for all the cats in the quartier.
Steinlen’s depictions of cats in art consist of simple lines. Unlike the cute Victorian kittens of Ronner-Knip, Steinlen’s cats exude a certain feline regality. Ronner-Knip’s cats are children’s pets, whereas Steinlen’s are independent and too proud to be depicted tipping over a lamp or teapot. Their quiet beauty is also profoundly portrayed in the many sculptures that he produced.