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Pierre Alexandre Wille

1748–1821, Paris

Pierre Alexandre Wille was the son of the well-known and influential court engraver and draughtsman Johann Georg Wille (1715 near Giessen – 1808 Paris), who had been engaged in very fruitful and productive work in Paris since 1736. The son was given sound graphic training by his father and learned painting from such renowned artists as Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Joseph Marie Vien before finally deciding to specialize in anecdotal genre painting in the style of the Dutch fine painters of the 17th century and of his tutor Greuze. Several of his works were duplicated by his father and the latter’s pupils as reproductive engravings. Louis XVI appointed Wille fils court painter, but after the Revolution and during the Napoleonic period the artist increasingly fell into oblivion.