Monday, August 3, 2015

Steinlen's Cats at the Musée de Montmartre

Paris' Musée de Montmartre is a place worth visiting for those interested in the Parisian art world of, say, 1880-1920 and even into the 1930s. On display October 17th, 2014 to September 13th, 2015 is an exhibit titled "The Spirit of Montmartre and Modern Art, 1875 - 1910" featuring posters, paintings and such for that era and locale.

The museum website exhibitions page link is here, but as of late July 2015 (when this post was being drafted) it consists of a scroll containing present, future and past exhibits with no links to archived items. Therefore, below is the English text for reference in case the web page is changed in the future:

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The Exhibition "The Spirit of Montmartre and Modern Art" invites you to discover the radical and anti-establishment philosophy of artists living and/or working in Montmartre at the turn of the XIXth century. Spotlighting the Incohérents, the Hydropathes, Fumisme, the Quat’z’Arts cabaret and the Vache Enragée processions, the exhibition presents the importance of Montmartre as the centre of the Parisian avant-garde. 200 archival items and 150 works of art from the Museum’s collection as well as from public and private collections, document the means of artistic expression of this vibrant period of art: visual puns, satire and caricature -developed often in the ephemeral media of posters-, journal and book illustrations, song sheets and shadow theatre productions. These documents depict Montmartre’s streets, cabarets, café-concerts, circus and theaters, all of which played an important part in the artistic life of the Butte.

"The Spirit of Montmartre and Modern Art, 1875 - 1910" will be displayed in the Hôtel Demarne, as the inaugural exhibition of this new space.

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The present post features some photos I took of exhibit items by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923) whose Wikipedia entry is here. It seems that Steinlen really liked cats, and he liked the Montmartre nightspot called Le Chat Noir, as we shall see below.


The famous Chat Noir poster by Steinlen, 1896. I include this to set the scene for the images below.

Below are the two panels of Chats et lunes ("Cats and Moons," ca. 1885). I don't have background information regarding them.

First panel.

Second panel.

L'Apothéose du chats - 1884
Atop the pyramid of cats in "The Apotheosis of Cats" sits the black cat, le chat noir. This painting was made for the second location of the cabaret on what then was rue Laval.

Museum website image of L'Apothéose du chats. Photos taken by people like me in museums are seldom very good due to lighting conditions, which is why I include this better-controlled version.

Rentrée du soir - 1897
By Steinlen, but not exactly of a cat. The museum translates the title as "Going Home in the Evening."

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