La Noblesse en Folie appeared as a two page interior illustration in a 1931 issue of the notorious French publication La Vie Parisienne. The racy and humorous original gouache painting shows a courtship scene straight out of the hedonistic Marie Antionette-era of pre-Revolutionary France. A corseted maiden in the extremely low cut, wide pannier gowns favored among 18th century French nobility is wooed by a much older, somewhat laughable figure who still wears the mask from the evening's masquerade ball. The decadence of the wealthy and titled was a frequent target for satire by La Vie Parisienne, a long-running, risqué magazine that chronicled the exploits and sexual proclivities of sassy and free spirited French follies showgirls and their often dim witted suitors throughout the ages. Along with Raphael Kirchner, Maurice Milliere was a frequent contributor of cover illustrations and interior full page color plates for the title. The margin of the board shows French text that translates to "I'm all that you have." This is a fine rare work which is lavishly framed in a carved museum quality genuine gold leaf, gilt frame, and is sold with the interior two page illustration as it appeared in the print.
Maurice Millière (1871 -1946) was a prolific French illustrator, artist, designer and etcher. He was a key figure in what has come to be regarded as "Boudoir Art" and an influence on later artists like Louis Icart. Born in Normandy, France, Maurice Millière began his art education in Le Havre, but was soon transferred to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Arts Décoratifs in Paris where he was a classmate of Toulouse-Lautrec and Raoul Dufy among others.
His skill as a draftsman translated quickly into success as an illustrator and his brilliant interpretation of the "Modern Parisienne" soon became known as the "Petite femme de Millière". Using the technique of color etching and drypoint, Millière created a modern woman who was coy, charming, independent and beautiful. Slightly erotic and very adorable, Millière's portrayals became known as "Femmes Poupées" or "Doll Women", and with them, he created the genre of Boudoir Art.
Millière's success continued to grow during the 1920's. He was made a Chevalier de Legion d'Honneur, and his concern for the welfare of children affected by World War I led him to become the treasurer for Charitable Works in Montmartre where he lived. Although his art became slightly less erotic and more sedate during this time he continued to work steadily and in various mediums.