Steinlein was raised in Swisterland in an environment with drawing, painting were part of his family’s background. Already as a schoolboy, Steinlein received art lessons. Yet his parents still strongly encouraged him to become a pastor after completing his philosophy course at Lausanne University. Steinlein would never show any enthusiasm for his studies. In 1879, he would finally leave the university without a degree, to became an apprentice in the textile factory. He produced original designs to be printed on fabric.
A few years later Steinlen and his wife were encouraged by the painter Francois-Louis David Bocion (1828-1890) to move to Paris. In the famous artist quarters of Montmartre, Steinlein was introduced to a group of artists, singers and performers, who regularly performed at a club called “Le Chat noir”. His friend Salis would perform regularly at the club, and Steinlen was responsible for creating many of the posters for him.
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