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Chat Noir by Steinlen

The Parisian nightclub, Le Chat Noir was an absolute hotbed for the fin-de-siècle literary and artistic avant-garde, including many printmakers. In particular, the shadow theatre performed there inspired their quest for a modern style.

The club also commissioned illustrations from printmakers for its in-house magazine, Le Chat Noir, which included picture stories and sheet music, as well as articles and the schedule of upcoming performances.

In 1881, Rodolphe Salis opened the club in Montmartre, together with a group of progressive writers, as a reaction to the populist and censored café-concerts. Entry was considerably more expensive, and the tone of the songs and performances was intellectual and provocative.Le Chat Noir did not represent any specific political or artistic movement, and was described by one of its regulars as ‘ironic, cynical, mystical, religious, revolutionary and reactionary: everything, in other words, but boring.. A few years ago the van Gogh Museum held an exebition on Le Chat Noir and his artists, but the best way to make yourself acquainted with the artists is the book which is now on offer at

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