Jan 21, 2016
Jun 27, 2011
Sep 8, 2011
Jan 21, 2016

Ten Assassinations for a Penny

Ten Assassinations for a Penny


Théophile Alexandre Steinlen

(Swiss, 1859–1923)


Sheet: 60.6 x 46.5 cm (23 7/8 x 18 5/16 in.); Image: 60.6 x 46.5 cm (23 7/8 x 18 5/16 in.)

Bequest of John Bonebrake 2012.271

Catalogue raisonné: Cate and Gill 45

Edition: 50



Nineteenth-century French lithographs, including Steinlen’s charged political images, offer wide-ranging documentation of the life at the time. In 1881 France passed a law granting freedom of the press, resulting in numerous magazines of humor and social criticism. An advocate for the poor, the downtrodden, and the working classes, Steinlen contributed artwork to journals linked to the leftist movement, such as the anarchist publication La feuille (The Newspaper), in which Ten Assassinations for a Penny was reproduced. Steinlen’s illustrations for La feuille comment satirically on the articles written by Zo d’Axa, the editor-in-chief. A sense of gloom and violence that parallels the pessimism of the writing permeates the somber images. Marked by strong contrasts of black and white, Ten Assassinations for a Penny has an unsettling, even frightening quality intended to shock the reader into acknowledging the deep-seated problems in French society.

See also
PR - Lithograph
Type of artwork: 

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