Vienna Bronzes (Wiener Bronzen) with Monkey Contemplating Humanity

(by other artists)


Smart Like Me (unsigned, artist unknown, Austrian, about 1890, black patina with bone, height: 6")


Smart Like Me


Source: Harold Berman, Abage Encyclopedia (Bronzes, Sculptors & Founders, 1800-1930). Chicago: Abage, 1976. Vol. II: page 385, [# 1428]. 



Auction item of unknown origin. (Auctioneer's description: "monkey holding a carved ivory skull, mounted on an ill-fitting base, possibly Japanese." Height under 6" (probably more around 3-4"). In light of the similarity to the image above, my guess is that this is a Vienna bronze.)



Source: Ebay Life Auctions (David Rago Auctions); eBay auction # 120186186603, ended Dec. 9, 2007.



Total Evolution (unsigned, artist unknown, Austrian, about 1900, dark brown patina with bone, height: 3")


Total Evolution


Source: Harold Berman, Abage Encyclopedia (Bronzes, Sculptors & Founders, 1800-1930). Chicago: Abage, 1976. Vol. II: page 385, [# 1425]. 



Gelehrter Affe [Learned Monkey] (Hans Elischer, probably Vienna, around 1900) (pointed out to me by Prof. Rolf Grimm)


Elischer bronze: learned monkey with glasses sitting on a pile of books and studying a skull which he holds in one hand


"Bebrillter Affe auf einem Bücherstapel sitzend sinnt über die Vergänglichkeit nach. Aufgreifen des Vanitas-Themas, Affe als Symbol des Menschen, der sich anmaßt, wie Gott zu sein, ist hier auf ein Rätsel gestoßen, das er nicht lösen kann (Totenschädel). Insgesamt eine ironische Darstellung, daß auch der gelehrteste Mensch nicht über das Rätsel des Todes hinwegkommt und seine Gelehrsamkeit nicht zu hoch schätzen soll."


Source (text and image): Kunst & Krempel [German TV show similar to "Antiques Road Show" broadcast in the US]. Broadcast on 11. October, 2002. Bayerischer Rundfunk. Website: Note that the artist's name provided on this site, "E. Lischa" is not quite correct. It should be "Elischer," probably "Hans Elischer."


None of the following reference sources contain an entry for E. Lischa or Hans Elischer: The Artists of the World Bio-Biographical Index A-Z, Saur: 1999/2000; Bénézit, E., Dictionary of Artists, 2005; Encyclopedia of World Art, 1961; and Thieme-Becker, Künstler-Lexikon, 1914.


Further images provided by Philip Heinzl, Oct 20, 2006.

Elischer statuette: Monkey contemplating human skull

Elischer signature: close-up




Vienna Bronze Monkey (unmarked, Austrian, about 1900, gilded, 3 1/4" height x 7")

Vienna Bronze Monkey (Darwin's Monkey) Vienna Bronze Monkey (Darwin's Monkey)--left side

"A cold painted Vienna Bronze Monkey with reading glasses holding a human skull (Darwin's monkey)".
Source: Leatherwood Antiques, March 14, 2005. Posted with the permission of one of the company's owner (Mo).

Click here for a short article on Vienna Bronzes.

A black-and-white photo of this bronze is also included in the book by Seiler & Stauber, p. 136 (see full citation below).

The caption reads: "Affe mit Totenschädel. Nach Gemälde von Gabriel Max. Länge 16 cm. Höhe 8 cm. Um 1900."




Detached Vienna monkey (or Vienna monkey knock-off)


unmarked, artist and foundry unknown, probably brass, 2 1/2" across, age unknown (but not of recent vintage)




Photos courtesy of Paul M. Bouder.




Bronze monkey contemplating human skull (ivory) (set on an onyx base)


unmarked, artist unknown, Austrian, about 1920; dimensions: 3" (total height) by 2.1" (length of bronze); base 2.4" by 3.2"



Photos courtesy of Alexander Zacke at




Vienna bronze monkey with skull sitting on the rim of a bowl/tray


unmarked, artist unknown, bronze with carved skull on marble bowl/tray, Austria; dimensions: H. 9 cm x L. 13 cm, H. 3.5 inch x L. 5.1 inch.
ashtray with vienna bronze monkey with skull _right side
Ashtray with monkey with skull_frontal ashtray with vienna bronze monkey with skull _right side_close-up


  Photos courtesy of Deconamic at This piece is currently offered on eBay: item 150650295130 (Aug. 22, 2011)



▬▬► For general information about Vienna Bronzes see:




Note: Unlike stated otherwise, the images above are posted on this site in conformance with the "fair use" clause of U.S. copyright.


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Axel Schmetzke, Ph.D.



University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

900 Reserve

Stevens Point, WI 54481