Marie Mélanie d’ Hervilly Gohier Hahnemann
Portrait of Samuel Hahnemann
Oil on canvas. 61 x 48.5 cm.
Signed and dated lower left: Mélanie/Hanemann/Paris 1838.
Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was the German physician best known for creating the system of homeopathy. The approach came from an early reluctance to use certain traditional techniques which he considered harmful to patients, such as bloodletting. He developed his work along the principle of like cures like (similia similibus curentur), in other words, a substance which can produce symptoms in a healthy individual can treat a sick individual manifesting a similar set of symptoms.
This painting, which is contemporary to the sitter, depicts Hahnemann in the year of his 83rd birthday.
In 1835, Hahnemann moved to Paris and married his second wife, Marie Mélanie d'Hervilly. A pupil of the artist Guillaume Guillon-Lethière, she paints this wonderful document of her husband three years after their marriage, at the age of 38. Marie Mélanie Hahnemann developed her own career as a practitioner of homeopathy taking on the practice of her late husband and eventually obtaining a medical licence as a woman physician and homeopath.
This portrait in remarkable condition has been passed down by descent through the hands of Hahnemann's grandson, Dr Leopold Süss-Hahnemann, who emigrated to England and practised homeopathy in London. Further by descent, it was sold through private hands and now offered publicly for the first time.
The artist’s gift to S. Hahnemann. - Hahnemann family by descent, (gifted to Amelie Hahnemann upon her father’s death). - Dr Leopold Suss-Hahnemann, Isle of Wight, UK, and by descent. - Acquired from the above by the present owner, UK.
Trevor M. Cook: Samuel Hahnemann: His Lifes & Times. 2008. - Richard Haehl: Samuel Hanemann: His Life & Work. 1996.