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The Street (La rue), poster for the printer Charles Verneau
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, 1896

The Street (La rue), poster for the printer Charles Verneau

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859 - 1923)

lithograph in seven colours on wove paper on linen, 242 cm x 299 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (purchased with support from the BankGiro Loterij)


Colourful posters were a common sight in the streets of fin-de-siècle Paris. They were more than mere advertisements – some were genuine works of art. High-quality designs by progressive young artists were printed by specialist printshops. Théophile Alexandre Steinlen created this gigantic poster to advertise the master printer Charles Verneau.

The Street is one of Steinlen’s most important works of art. Its large scale meant the poster had to be printed in no fewer than six separate parts. With its sparkling expanses of colour, decorative patterns and vivid content, the work has everything that made poster-art so innovative in this period.

Steinlen presents a contemporary street scene, with people from every walk of life: the capitalist, the laundrywoman, the elegant Parisian lady and the worker. The artist has made all the figures the same height, as in a frieze in a classical temple or a fresco in a church. It is with good reason that at the time, posters were referred to as 'frescoes for the masses'.

What is it?
What can you see?
Context
printmaker
printer
publisher

Object data

Object number
p2725S2013
Dimensions
242 cm x 299 cm, 234.5 cm x 296 cm, 234.5 cm x 296 cm
Catalogue raisonné
De Crauzat 495

Inscription/label

signature and date
Steinlen 96
inscription
Affiches Charles Verneau
inscription
"LA RUE" PARIS. 114, RUE OBERKAMPF CHARLES VERNEAU, IMPRIMEUR by Imprimerie Charles Verneau

Literature

  • E. de Crauzat ; preface de Roger Marx, L'oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Steinlen : catalogue descriptif et analytique suivi d'un essai de bibliographie et d'iconographie de son oevres illustré, 1983, no. 495
  • Richard Thomson, Phillip Dennis Cate, Mary Weaver Chapin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre, 2005, p. 11-13
  • Susan Gill, Théophile Steinlen : a study of his graphic art, 1881-1900, 1985, p. 180, 193-196
  • [Peter Murray], Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923) : an exhibition of paintings, drawings and graphic works, 1993, p. 13-15
  • [Ruth Dreifuss, Alain Vaissade, Cäsar Menz ... [et al.]], Steinlen et l'époque 1900, 1999, p. 77-78
  • Jürgen Döring, Toulouse-Lautrec und die Belle Epoque, 2002, p. 74-75
  • Claude Ghez, Carolyne Krummenacker, Raphaël Gérard ... [et al.], Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen : meester van Montmartre, 2007, p. 34, 37
  • préface de Nicole d'Huart et Isabelle Six, 200 affiches de la Belle Époque : les murs s'affichent au Musée d'Ixelles, 2004, p. 54-55
  • Mary Weaver Chapin, Posters of Paris : Toulouse-Lautrec and his contemporaries, 2012, p. 130
  • ed. by Gabriel P. Weisberg ; [forew. Karal Ann Marling], Montmartre and the making of mass culture, 2001, p. 72-75