Théophile Alexandre Steinlen
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen was born in Switzerland but spent most of his life in France. He is best known for his Art Nouveau paintings and poster prints; his most famous works depict cats and other animals, chosen for their symbolic weight and Steinlen’s general affection for them. He studied at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland then moved to Paris at 21 to be more connected with the art world. While in Paris, he met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Adolphe Willette, and Félix Vallotton, all artists who influenced Steilen’s style of work. He designed advertisements for a range of companies and was recognized for his artistic abilities at the Salon des Indépendants. He also produced many political posters aimed towards leftists in the early 20th century in response to World War I. He was very active in socialist circles, and created advertising posters in support of the cause. As the war continued, Steinlen depicted more scenes of the working class; he focused on groups of society usually neglected and marginalized. In 1923, at the age of 64, Steinlen died of a heart attack.