Interior of Tramway

steinlentramwayaTheophile Steinlen (1859-1923), Interior of Tramway, lithograph, 1896, signed lower right in red pencil. Reference: Crauzat 173. In good condition, on Chine Volant with wide (full) margins, 10 5/8 x 13 5/8, the sheet 16 1/2 x 20. A proof impression apart from the edition of 50.

A fine proof impression of this well known masterpiece.

Theophile Alexandre Steinlen began his career as an illustrator for Paris journals (Le Chat Noir, Gil Blas), and was naturally attracted to printmaking presumably because he was such an excellent draughtsman. His lithographic work, such as Interior of Tramway, was of course informed by the marvelous draughtsmanship of his fellow-countryman and predecessor Honore Daumier.  Indeed, Daumier made several at least superficially similar images of people on trains, and this theme has of course been repeated by others including Hopper, Marsh, and Bishop in the US.

Although he is famed  for his fin de siecle posters (and for his cats!), Steinlen’s work throughout his career was marked by strong social consciousness. From early on, he created images of French life – prostitutes and pimps, construction workers and miners, ragpickers and soldiers, workers, city people.  Here we find group of Parisiens, some rather well dressed in fact, bundled up against the cold and although sitting close to each other, each in a world of their own.