This is a translation of one of the 45 blogs I wrote during my three month stay in Paris, 2021-2022.



Januari, 13 2022
On a long walk through Montmartre today I came upon le Cimitière de Saint Vincent. Out of curiosity I entered the grounds, saw a few hundred monuments from different periods and sizes and began to scan the graves methodically. An enjoyable activity during which I took notes of all kinds of information of small interest. Almost at the end in a corner of the cemetery under a large cypress I noticed a messy display of cat pictures and figurines and thought; ‘probably the grave of a cat lady.” In passing I saw the white bucket with the inscription “pour Steinlen ne pas voler”. And actually engraved on a flat tombstone his name and details.

When looking for information on Steinlen it is teeming with cats, which to me has no special appeal. Steinlen for me represents an artist of sincere engagement with the living conditions and plights of ordinary people, drawings as slices of everyday life in a big metropole. I love his drawings for magazines like ‘L’Assiette au Beurre” such as ‘Le Veau d’Or’ or his etchings on scenes from World War One.

Yet Steinlen also appears to have been a real kind of ‘cat man’ who fed the street cats of Montmartre. In a blog text written by Magdalin Asimakis for The Met ( 2 november 2017) I read that for him these cats represented the freedom of Montmartre. Living the life of a Bohemian ‘unobstructed by capitalist Paris’. I’m glad I followed my nose.