Adolphe Léon Willette was a French painter, illustrator, caricaturist, and lithographer, as well as an architect of the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Willette ran as an "anti-semitic" candidate in the 9th arrondissement of Paris for the September 1889 legislative elections.
Willette was born in Châlons-sur-Marne. He studied for four years at the École des Beaux-Arts under Cabanel, training which gave him a unique position among the graphic humorists of France. Whether comedy or tragedy, dainty triviality or political satire, his work is instinct with the profound sincerity of the artist. He set Pierrot upon a lofty pedestal among the imaginary heroes of France, and established Mimi Pinson, frail, lovable, and essentially good-hearted, in the affections of the nation.
The artist was a prolific contributor to the French illustrated press under the pseudonyms "Cemoi", "Pierrot", "Louison", "Bebe", and "Nox", but more often under his own name. He 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, &c., notably Le Chat noir and La Palette d'or, and he painted the highly imaginative ceiling for La Cigale music hall.