In Paris, the refuge of all scorned artists, young Alexandre Guilbert struggles to live a bohemian life, skirting the fringes of madness, living on charity and helping others, indulging every whim from cross-dressing to public nudity. Painter and photographer, husband and lover, creator and destroyer, his excesses and extravagances border on the absurd. His need for identity without personality inspires the outrage of proper society, and he cannot survive his own freedom. But will he leave a legacy, despite all efforts to the contrary?
THE LAST DECADENT casts an aggressive eye on the darkness which engulfs the City of Lights, as the glories of La Belle Epoque disintegrate into plagues of liberalism, neuroticism, and anarchy. Guilbert's story is told through the six people who exert the strongest influence on his life: demimonde lover, melancholic wife, mad friend, unscrupulous dealer, notorious seductress, and the arrogant journalist who studies Guilbert's decadence, and is changed by what he learns.