From the museum website, 8 April 2011
Both Edward van Even and Victor Demunter, the museum’s first curators, were very fond of the works of Pieter-Jozef Verhaghen (1728-1811). They collected his paintings, organised retrospective exhibitions and published articles and monographs about his work.
Verhaghen was the last representative of what is known as the Flemish School; he carried on the artistic tradition of Rubens into the 19th century. He developed an excellent reputation during his lifetime and even came to the attention of Empress Maria Theresia, who appointed him her court painter in 1773.
Verhaghen also left his mark on Leuven. The municipal collection houses dozens of his paintings and drawings. The last retrospective exhibition of his work took place in 1977. The 200th anniversary of the artist’s death is the perfect occasion to cast the limelight upon him once more.