Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen was born in 1859 Lausanne, where he studied literature at the academy. Later he did an internship with a textile printer in Mulhouse. In 1878 Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen went to Paris, where he initially earned a living as a technical draftsman. In 1883 Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen moved to the artists' neighborhood of Montmartre, where he met and made friends with artists like Toulouse-Lautrec, Aristide Bruant, Vallaton and Alphone Allais.
At that time, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen worked as a draftsman and illustrator for the papers "Le Chat Noir" and "Le Mirliton".
In 1884 he held his first exhibition at La Bodinière. In 1885 Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen drew the first of his famous posters: a poster for the Hotel de Paris in Trouville sur Mer.
Posters for La Compagnie Francaise, the Cabarét Le Chat Noir and many others followed. In 1911 Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen founded the paper "Les Humorists" together with Forain and Léandre and worked as a book illustrator.
From 1893 he exhibited his works at the Salon des Indépendants and later regularly held exhibitions at the Salon des Humoristes. Politically opposed to the war, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen drew numerous posters against World War I.
Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen died in Paris in 1923.