Painting depicts German organic and theoretical chemist August Kekulé (1829-1896) in his classroom at the University of Ghent in the fall of 1864.
Left to right: assistant Hermann Wischelhaus, group leader Franz Wilhelm Körner (1838-1911), Kekulé, a composite of several students, and student assistant Albert Ladenburg (1842-1911). Kekulé holds a model of the molecular structure of the benzene ring, copied precisely by the artist from scale drawings of Kekulé's original model.
An early founder of structural organic chemistry, Kekulé's benzene ring structure research resulted in advancements in organic chemistry as well as the development of the aniline dye industry. Kekulé's theories and leadership were the catalyst of a chemical revolution. His theory of valency recognized that carbon is tetravalent: they can link directly to one another to form carbon chains.
Comissioned by American Cyanamid for annual calendar (1981).
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