As the son of the German engraver Johann Georg Wille, Pierre-Alexandre was readily accepted by J.-B. Greuze, a friend of his father's. He remained his pupil for three years - despite a temporary switch to the neoclassicist J. M. Vien - and became one of his most important followers in the field of genre painting, one who gained admission into the Paris Academy in 1774 under the title 'Peintre du sujets familiers'. With less strict moral pretensions, and without the associated pathos, yet with a greater interest than his teacher in the painting of textile surfaces, P.-A. Wille had remarkable success with the Parisian public; all the more so after Greuze stopped exhibiting at the Salon in 1769. In time, however, attention to him receded and with it information about his works and dates. Aside from a few strikingly realistic drawings directly related to events from the Revolution (K. E. Maison), P.-A. Wille's later work is no longer known today.