Le Chat Noir

Le Chat NoireWhen a good friend moved away from Geneva, I was given her poster of Le Chat Noir. I have framed it and it now hangs in my apartment. What is the story behind the famous poster?

Well, the original Le Chat Noir (“The Black Cat”) was a famous 19th century cabaret in the (notoriously bohemian) Montmartre district of Paris. It was opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard Rouchechouart by the artist Rodolphe Salis, and closed in 1897.

Salis most often played, with exaggerated, ironic politeness, the role of conférencier. And it was here that the Salon des Arts Incohérents (Salon of Incoherent Arts), the “shadow plays” and the comic monologues got their start.

The artist behind the iconic poster is Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, who was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker.

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  1. I’ve always loved this poster — thanks for the information!

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