Cats in the 19th Century (Part 9-Cats in Art-Theophile Steinlen)

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. 

For more information on Steinlen, visit our page in Cats in Art. 






Mother Cat cats in art

Siamese Mother Cat 


Nursing Time 1920 cats in paintings Steinlen

Nursing Time


Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then this is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats



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  1. Thank you for this article — I love Steinlen’s cats! I discovered a beautiful little bronze cat in a shop in Montmartre this summer, and have been learning more about him….and it is so inspiring to read about Steinlen’s career. Many of his depictions of cats are beautiful and elegant like those shown above – but Steinlen also showed their lighter side, too. Have you seen any of his delightful comics -“stories without words”- of cats being very silly (knocking over fishbowls, etc? I think his art captures the many facets of feline fabulousness!

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