Kitty Things: Fine Art…Salt and Pepper Shakers?

two steinlen cat figurines
“A La Bodiniére” in salt and pepper shakers.
reproduction of poster
A La Bodiniére

Standing in line at the thrift shop with an armload of new-found treasures, something in my peripheral vision wanted a closer look. I turned to look at two cat figurines—how sweet!—and immediately began to determine if I should purchase them to add them to my lifelong collection of cat figurines. I have no rhyme or reason for what I purchase, it really depends on my whim at that moment, but I can say that I usually do purchase what I find.

These two, however, were more than sweet and rather nicely done, they also looked vaguely familiar. I turned them around and—aha!—they were “the Steinlen cats” (more on that below)! As salt and pepper shakers! There was no doubt, I would purchase them. They now reside in my collection case and if I have special guests some day I may use them for salt and pepper.

But they also reminded me of a photo I’d taken along that theme…

two black cats looking out a window
“Two Black Cats”, 2010

Mewsette and Giuseppe have a front row position to watch the great outdoors outside the big window otherwise known as Cat TV.

Their positions reminded me of a famous poster design, “A La Bodiniére”, by Théophile Steinlein, the painter, illustrator and Art Nouveau printmaker who helped set the standard for poster design and has been a great inspiration to me as both a graphic designer and a feline artist. The poster was advertising “exposition de l’oeuvre dessine et peint“, or an exhibit of his drawings and paintings at La Bodiniere, a theater and exhibit hall.

two steinlen cat figurines
From the front; they are really nicely done for salt and pepper shakers!

Steinlein was one of the most famous feline artists of any era, sketching and painting his cats all the time and incorporating their images into his designs. Easily recognizable among his designs are “Tournee du Chat Noir” and no doubt many people have seen “Clinique Chéron” hanging in their veterinarian’s office. See more of Steinlen’s creations in this post on Animalarium.

two steinlen cat figurines
They really are salt and pepper shakers.

To say he is and long has been an inspiration to me is a massive understatement. One of my favorite things to sit and study is a beat-up old copy of the Dover Art Library’s Steinlein Cats, showing me pages from his everyday sketchbooks of cats in charcoal, ink, watercolor, studies of paw and ears and noses, a momcat nursing her kittens, a little cartoon of a cat who spilled the milk; what a joy for me to share the inspirations of another artist so intimately. While my finished paintings have always been organized, this book encouraged me to organize my sketches as well and put me on the path to keeping sketchbooks instead of sketching on whatever was handy.

There is no mark anywhere on the set to see who made them or when, but I don’t know of any company that makes fine art salt and pepper shakers! Below are a few more photos of the figurines, along with Mr. Sunshine’s reaction to them…

two steinlen cat figurines
Mr. Sunshine inspects the figurines; later he also tasted them.

Read other posts featuring Kitty Things, feline-themed artifacts I’ve found here and there.


 

Browse some rescued cats and kittens—or browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!

cats and kittens
Gallery view of Pittsburgh CAT cats for adoption.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

Weekly schedule of features:
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

3 thoughts on “Kitty Things: Fine Art…Salt and Pepper Shakers?

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  • January 24, 2015 at 4:46 pm
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    They are really nice Bernadette..I love Steinlen cat posters..I have a Chat Noir mug that is nice and plan on adding a poster to my gallery wall I am planning which will also include my print of Kennedy and a beautiful card of Lady Emeraude that I framed also..I believe Mr Sunshine approves of your purchase..especially if he tasted it..lol..

    Reply
    • January 28, 2015 at 12:45 am
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      Bluemoonalone, thanks, I treasure them! I never shop, and I’d never see them unless I found them just like that!

      Reply

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