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  • Van Gogh Museum Acquires Two Works

    Steinlen (1859-1923): La tournée du Chat Noir.

    The Vincent van Gogh Stichting recently purchased two well-known posters. One by Theophile Steinlen (1859-1923): La tournée du Chat Noir, and one by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901): Eldorado, Aristide Bruant. The Van Gogh Museum already possessed several smaller lithographs by these artists. Both acquisitions can be seen in Prints with a message (8 July - 9 October 2005), in which they form the highlight of the show. The posters are presented alongside other celebrated examples of the genre from the 1890s, the heyday of artistic advertisements.

    La tournée du Chat Noir avec Rodolphe Salis is painter and illustrator Théophile Steinlen's most famous poster. His decorous black cat became the symbol of Le Chat Noir, the Paris café-cabaret where concerts and recitals by chansonniers were held, as well as shadow plays. Steinlen's poster announces a tour by this 'théâtre d'ombres' in 1896.

    Toulouse-Lautrec's Eldorado, Aristide Bruant is for a performance by artist and songwriter Aristide Bruant at Eldorado, a Paris café, in 1892. Bruant sang songs about working-class life using the language of the streets, and he cared little whether he offended his audience. In all, Toulouse-Lautrec designed four posters for Bruant, each a variation of the same astonishingly powerful frame-filling portrait of the singer wearing a red scarf.

    Prints with a message - The close connection between avant-garde art and theatre in late 19th-century Paris is also evident from the many theatre programmes designed by contemporary artists. The show presents a selection of items for productions by innovative theatre companies such as Théâtre Libre (1887-1894) and Théâtre de l'Oeuvre (1893-1900). Artists were given considerable latitude when designing posters and programmes. They often produced adventurous compositions, with large fields of bright colour and accentuated contours, emulating the style of Japanese prints. Apart from graphic art made for a mass audience, the exhibition also features prints intended for more exclusive groups, such as cards announcing a birth, as well as menus and invitations.