The image of the black cat in graphic arts was familiar to Parisians for years before Kertsz arrived in Paris. Perhaps he became aware of this once he settled in Paris perhaps through the social life at Caf du Dme. Made immensely popular through posters and affiches, the black cat became symbolic of an era mostly through the work of designer Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923). Steinlen was commissioned by Rodolphe Salis, the proprietor of the cabaret Tourne du Chat Noir, to create a lasting and instantly recognizable logo for this staple of Montmartre nightlife. Whether Kertsz consciously recalled this precedent or not is unknown, however the cat's surprised and defensive expression and the circular motif of the sculpted head in profile seems an obvious reference to Steinlen's poster. It is tempting to believe that prior to his arrival in Paris, Kertsz came across the Steinlen broadside, adding to the City of Light's allure for him.
Enlarged exhibition prints by Kertsz, mounted to vellum and on matte surface paper are extremely rare. A print of this image on carte-postale and mounted to vellum as well, was sold by Christie's, New York, An Important Collection of Andr Kertsz Vintage Phtoographs, 1919-1927, 17 April 1997, lot 185.