There is much confusion surrounding the artist Agapit Stevens. He is often mistaken with his contemporary, Alfred Stevens who chose to paint similar subjects. Even his birth and death dates are subject to differing opinions although it is now regarded that the dates given by Paul Piron in his book ‘De Belgische Beeldende Kunstenaars’ are correct.
Born in Brussels in 1848, Agapit Stevens became a talented painter of figurative subjects usually depicting attractive women. His first major success came in 1884 when he was invited to participate in the prestigious, ‘Exposition Generale des Beaux Arts’ in Brussels. His reputation as a painter in the realist tradition grew over the following years and he soon found a public keen for this work. Although he rarely exhibited his work during his lifetime, preferring to work via direct commission, he was included in a major retrospective exhibition held in Ixelles in 1963. Entitled ‘Cent Ans de l’Art de Ixelles’ it featured a number of Agapit Stevens more important works. Agapit Stevens died at Watermaal, near Brussels, in 1924.