Théophile-Alexandre Pierre Steinlen, Tournée du Chat Noir (Poster)

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Date: 1896
Technique: Colour lithograph, 40 x 62 cm

Poster advertising the tour of the shadow puppets theatre Le Chat Noir

Le Chat Noir ("The Black Cat") was a 19th-century cabaret, meaning entertainment house, in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris. It was first opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard Rochechouart by the impresario Rodolphe Salis, and closed in 1897 not long after Salis' death (much to the disappointment of Picasso and others who looked for it when they came to Paris for the Exposition in 1900). Its imitators have included cabarets from St. Petersburg (The Stray Dog) to Barcelona (Els Quatre Gats).

Perhaps best known now by its iconic Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen poster art, in its heyday it was a bustling nightclub — part artist salon, part rowdy music hall. The cabaret published its own humorous journal Le Chat Noir, which survived until 1899. It began by renting the cheapest accommodations it could find, a small two room affair at 84 Boulevard Rochechouart, but within three and a half years its popularity forced it to move into larger accommodations a few doors down, in June, 1885. Located at 12 Rue Victor-Masse (which before 1885 had been Rue de Laval 12), the new establishment was sumptuous. It was the old private mansion of the painter Alfred Steven, who, at the request of Salis, had transformed it into a “fashionable country inn” with the help of the architect Maurice Isabey.

Salis most often played, with exaggerated, ironic politeness, the role of conférencier (post-performance lecturer, or Emcee). It was here that the Salon des Arts Incohérents (Salon of Incoherent Arts), the "shadow plays" and the comic monologues got their start.

According to Salis: "The Chat Noir is the most extraordinary cabaret in the world. You rub shoulders with the most famous men of Paris, meeting there with foreigners from every corner of the world."

Source 1
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for giving the history of this piece of art. I have seen it on numerous occasions and have always wondered where it came from.


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