Although Swiss by birth, Steinlen belongs totally to Paris, and particularly to Montmartre, where he settled in 1880, becoming a notable regular of the Chat Noir night club, and spent all his life. Best known for his illustrations for satirical and humorous magazines, he nevertheless produced a vast body of work, notably street scenes of the suburbs of Paris and around Montmartre. Indefatigable draughtsman, his studio sketches span over 40 years of constant study and research. He produced famous fine posters, and was a passionate cat lover, and from the beginning of his career he drew, painted and modelled them, with the intent of capturing the peculiar character of their movements.

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