The Art of “Petit Pierre” (Graphic Cycles of Théophile Steinlen)

It was mainly Théophile Steinlen’s merit of having transformed the rather jovial style of the late Daumier into an effective and dramatic means of expression for socialist class struggle.The few cover illustrations which Steinlen made for “Le Chambard Socialiste” by using his anarchistic pen name “Petit Pierre” became milestones of the socialist art of the 20th century. “Petit Pierre” is a French translation of Steinlen or Steinlein. The name is of Swabian origin and is a diminutive form of “stone”. He probably has chosen this pseudonym with an anti-church suggestion in mind. The influence of his “Assiette au Beurre” classic, “La Vision de Hugo,” (26.2.1902) on artists like Alfred Kubin and Willibald Krain can hardly be overestimated.

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