French painter, illustrator, caricaturist, and lithographer Adolphe Léon Willette was born in Châlons-sur-Marne on 30 July, 1857. He was also the architect of the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.
Willette studied for four years at the École des Beaux-Arts under Alexandre Cabanel. He has been labelled the modern “Watteau of the pencil”, (after French artist, Antoine Watteau 1684-1721) and an exponent of sentiment that moves emotions among the public.
- Willette was a prolific contributor to the French illustrated press using various pseudonyms, such as “Cemoi”, “Pierrot”, “Louison”, “Bebe”, and “Nox”, but more often under his own name.
Willette illustrated Melandri’s Les Pierrots and Les Giboulles d’avril, Le Courrier français, and published his own Pauvre Pierrot and other works, in which he tells his stories in scenes in the manner of Busch. He decorated several “brasseries artistiques” with wall-paintings, stained glass, and notably Le Chat noir and La Palette d’or. Willette painted the highly imaginative ceiling for La Cigale music hall. His characteristically fantastic Parce Domine was shown in the Franco-British Exhibition in 1908. A remarkable collection of his works was exhibited in 1888. His V’almy is in the Luxembourg, Paris.
- He died on 4 February 1926 at the age of 69.
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