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STEINLEN: CATS

May 2019 - Sep 2019

This feline-themed exhibition presents the work of Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859–1923), an artist whose career spanned the transition from Art Nouveau to Modernism. Steinlen produced fine art prints and illustrated political journals, song sheets, restaurant menus, books, and advertisements. His best-known work—the cabaret advertisement La Tournée du Chat Noir, the 1896 poster featuring a black cat silhouetted against a burnt orange background—is now an icon of the “poster craze” of the late 1800s.

A version of this famous poster is among the 26 works featured in Steinlen: Cats, a traveling exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. At the MSV from May 2 through September 1, 2019, Steinlen: Cats focuses exclusively on Steinlen’s images of cats and explores his artistic growth as he experimented with a range of styles, including Realism, Japonisme, Art Nouveau, and Post-Impressionism.