Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923)
The Centenary Exhibition.

From 13 October 2023
to 11 February 2024

Montmartre museum

12, rue Cortot
75018 Paris

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, La rentrée du soir (détail), vers 1885, huile sur toile, 65 x 50 cm

The Museum of Montmartre dedicates an exhibition to Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), an iconic figure of Montmartre in the late 19th century. This exhibition, which will run from October 13, 2023, to February 11, 2024, commemorates the centenary of his passing. It pays tribute to this versatile and elusive artist, who was not only a draftsman, engraver, painter, and sculptor but also belonged to no specific artistic school, except that of freedom.

A common thread emerges from his highly prolific body of work: his commitment.
The artist consistently linked art and politics, serving as a critical observer of his era. Steinlen seamlessly transitioned his motifs from one medium to another, ranging from illustrated publications to book art, from posters to paintings. His primary subjects included both human beings and cats, the latter serving as a whimsical but distinctly enigmatic animalistic counterpart. He also delved into classical genres of painting, particularly nudes and landscapes. Suspicious of artistic dogma, Steinlen firmly believed in the social and political mission of art, viewing it as a means and a voice for a better world.

Structured along a chronological and thematic path, the exhibition retraces Steinlen’s career and provides insight into the diversity of his work through a selection of around a hundred pieces. This includes a substantial number of oil paintings, which are less known than his graphic work, also well-represented in the exhibition, along with sculptures.

The exhibition’s organization revolves around the theme of social art and is divided into three main movements: Montmartre and the Chat Noir; the people as both the subject and objective of art; and finally, the interplay between historical painting and intimate nudes, all within the context of a political vision of art.


Exhibition curators

Leïla Jarbouai, chief curator, graphic arts and paintings, Musée d’Orsay
Saskia Ooms, former head of conservation at the Musée de Montmartre


Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, La rentrée du soir (détail), vers 1885, huile sur toile, 65 x 50 cm

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen
La rentrée du soir (détail)
Circa 1885
Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm
Association des amis du Petit Palais de Genève, © Studio Monique Bernaz