This Swiss painter was born in Geneva on 24th March 1767 to a rich bourgeois family of Scottish origin. The wealth of his background ensured that he was supplied with ample opportunity to develop his artistic skills, with studies of animals particularly fascinating him.
Agasse was educated in Paris, and L'Academie Royale de Peinture mentions his entry to L'Atelier de David on 6th September 1787.
Agasse remained in Paris until 1798, when he suffered a harsh reversal of fortune and lost all his money. This blow led him to accept the offer of a rich Englishman to send him to London at the end of October 1800. There he lived a modest existence, dedicating himself to his art without bowing to the whims of fashion. It was only after 20 years in the capital that he was introduced to the Regent.
Agasse was mainly interested in the depiction of animals, of which subject he was a master. However, his talents also extended to portraits and even historical scenes. On 27th December 1849, Agasse died in London after a long lifetime of uncompromising artistic excellence.