Hugo Rheinhold ...

                            and his Philosophizing Monkey

by Axel Schmetzke

Portrait of Hugo Rheinhold

Portrait of Hugo Rheinhold; courtesy of
Marion Epstein and Eric Johnson 7, 8

Hugo Rheinhold's Monkey Statuette


Table of Contents

Purpose of this site


    Written works by Hugo Rheinhold

    References pertaining to Hugo Rheinhold

         Obituaries & biographies
         Rheinhold's monkey
         Other sculptures by Hugo Rheinhold
         Hugo Rheinhold's signature


        Gladenbeck seals

    Works with a similar motif/iconography

    Selected background readings

Exhibitions with Rheinhold's monkey


Pre-1950s bronze manifestations of Rheinhold's monkey

    Bronzes of Rheinhold's "Philosophizing Monkey"--location, physical characteristics,
foundry etc. (Table 1)

    Bronzes of Rheinhold's "Philosophizing  Monkey"--Summary of Auction Records (Table 2)
    Further information about specific copies

        Lenin's monkey
        "Attersee" monkey
        "Caldecotte's" monkey
          "Pensee de Darwin" (Ward's Natural Science Bulletin, March 1953)

        Ape sculpture on Hainan Island, China

         Monkey incorrectly credited to Gertrude Alice (Meredith) Williams (Edinburgh, c. 1880)
        The monkey at Queens University, Ontario
        My own monkey statuette

Miscellaneous images of Rheinhold's Monkey on the Web

Modern reproduction from original Gladenbeck casting molds

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Purpose of this site

Since starting this web site some five years ago,  I have learned that numerous individuals share my interest in the late-19th century German sculptor Hugo (Wolfgang) Rheinhold and his works, particularly his "Philosophizing Monkey Statuette."  This bronze, entitled "Affe einen Schädel betrachtend" (monkey viewing/contemplating a skull), was first exhibited at the Groβe Berliner Kunstaustellung (Great Berlin Art Exhibition) in 1893. Shortly thereafter, the foundry Gladenbeck included this bronze in their production line (s. Gladenbeck Catalog, ca. 1905).

This page serves two functions: to make information on the subject available to interested parties, and to facilitate further research into the artist's life and work, including the "genealogy" of the various bronze manifestations of his "Philosophizing Monkey." In order to facilitate the latter, I started systematizing the information available on pre-1950s versions (a very humble beginning at this time). Readers with access to pre-1950s bronzes are encouraged to contribute to my compilation. (More recent low-quality reproductions are only of marginal interest to me.)


Written works by Hugo Rheinhold

"Was uns eint.".Vortrag, gehalten in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für ethische Kultur von Hugo Rheinhold in Berlin. Ethische Kultur. 2 (31), 1894: 241 - 243.

"Was uns eint." (Fortsetzung). Vortrag, gehalten in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für ethische Kultur von Hugo Rheinhold in Berlin. Ethische Kultur. 2 (32), 1894: 251 - 253

"Was uns eint." (Schluß). Vortrag, gehalten in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für ethische Kultur von Hugo Rheinhold in Berlin. Ethische Kultur. 2 (33), 1894: 258 - 260.

Ethische Kultur, published weekly by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ethische Kultur, of which Hugo Rheinhold was a founding member, also includes the following article by H. Rheinhold:  "Wie ich ein anderer Mensch geworden bin. Ein Bekenntnis." Ethische Kultur. 1 (34), 1893: 267 - 269. This article contains a passage, in which the author refers to himself with his first name: "Hans". In light of this self-reference (and the writing style, which is quite different from that in Hugo Rheinhold's other publications), I had to abandon my initial assumption that this article was authored by Hugo Rheinhold.

References pertaining to Hugo Rheinhold


[Geil, Bernd], "Im Stadtarchiv auf Spurensuche." Rhein-Lahn-Zeitung, June 7, 2006. (Also appeared, with slight variations, in the Rhein-Lahn-Kurier, June 9, 2006, p. 9, under the title "Auf den Spuren von Hugo Rheinhold. Vergessener Lahnsteiner Bildhauer beschäftigt Forscher weltweit.")

"Vorfahren auf der Spur." Rhein-Lahn-Zeitung, August 17, 2007, p. 19. (Also appeared, with slight variations, in the Rhein-Lahn-Kurier, August 24, 2007, p. 8, under the title "Jüdische Emigranten auf den Spuren ihrer Vorfahren in Lahnstein.")

Morgan, Roberta Gordon.  Hugo Rheinhold. 1993 (unpublished). A copy is included in the Special Collection of the Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society library (according to the inventory list put together by its honorary librarian, Alexander Adam, June 2004:

Morgan, Roberta Gordon and Adam G. N. Moore. "Hugo Rheinhold's Monkey." (Dec. 1, 1998). [The first easily accessible article providing information about Hugo Rheinhold's life and work. It was this article that got me started with my own research.]

Hugo Rheinhold. Berlin: H. Boll, 1900. [32 plates with photographs depicting Hugo Rheinhold's studio and sculptures; probably published after the artist's death for friends and family members; three known copies, one of which is in private possession and two of which are located at the Department of Special Collections, Frank Melville, Jr., Memorial Library, State University of New York at Stony Brook; images of some of these plates will soon be posted on this site.]

See also Richter, Jochen and Axel Schmetzke, "Der Philosophische Affe und die Eule der Minerva." and Richter, Jochen and Axel Schmetzke, "Hugo Rheinhold's philosophizing monkey  a modern Owl of Minerva."

"150. Geburtstag Hugo Rheinhold ." Part 12 of  a series by the Stadtarchiv Lahnstein, "Lahnstein hat Geschichte." Rhein-Lahn-Kurier, June 27, 2003. [The article contains one major error. It wrongly claims that the original (entitled, in French, Pensées de Darwin) is located in the Washington County Museum in Hagerstown, Maryland, USA.]

Obituaries & biographies

Donath, Adolf: „Hugo Rheinhold.“ Ost und West,  Okt. 1907. Heft 10. S. 609-614. Further images of Rheinhold's work are also found in the following article, which deals with a different subject: Rabbinowicz, A.S.: „Verblasste Gestalten.“ Ost und West, Okt. 1907. Heft 10. S. 615-624.

Penzig, R. "Hugo Rheinhold : Nachruf." Ethische Kultur. 8 (41), 1900: 321.

"Die Beisetzung von Hugo Rheinhold" ... Ethische Kultur. 8 (43), 1900: 343-344 [Column: Aus der Ethischen Bewegung].

"Hugo Rheinhold." Die Gartenlaube. 1. Beilage zum 24. Halbheft, 1900: 2 [includes short text and two images: a portrait of the artist and its sculpture "Am Wege"].

Samuel Kristeller und Hugo Rheinhold. Gedächtnis Rede, am 25. März 1901 im Bürgersaal des Berliner Rathauses gehalten von Wilhelm Foerster. Ethische Kultur. 9 (19), 1901: 145 -149.

"Nachruf!" (Hugo Rheinhold). Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums. October 12, 1900. 64 (41): 2.

Obituary (no title). Der Gemeindebote. Beilage zur "Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums." October 12, 1900. 64 (41). "Korrespondenzen und Nachrichten" section.

Obituary (no title). Kunstchronik, Neue Folge (NF) 12, 1901, p. 27-28.1

Einholz, Sibylle, "Rheinhold, Hugo." In Ethos und Pathos. Die Berliner Bildhauerschule 1786-1914. Austellungskatalog, ed. Peter Bloch et al. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag: 1990: 239-240.

Unseren Freunden zum Gedächtniβ. Mittheilungen vom Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebunde, Nr. 54, 1900: 11-15 (cited in; microfilm copie available at Germania Judaica, Cologne, Germany and Universitäts-Bibliothek, Frankfurt/Main, Germany). [Unlike the other obituaries, this piece includes relatively detailed references to Rheinhold's artistic creations.]

A one-page biographical entry about Hugo Rheinhold, authored by I. Singer and S. Mannheimer, is included in the Jewish Encyclopedia, which was originally published between 1901-1906. The unabridged content of this encyclopedia is now freely available at 1

Very brief biographical notes are included in

Rheinhold's Monkey

newly added articleReynolds, Vernon, "Hugo's Philosophical Ape." IPPL News. 35 (2), Sept. 2008: 16-18. [IPPL = International Primate Protection League]. Available online at

newly added articleRichter, Jochen and Axel Schmetzke, "Hugo Rheinhold's philosophizing monkey  a modern Owl of Minerva." NTM International Journal of History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine. 15 (2), 2007: 81-97.

Derry, J.F., Rheinhold's Philosophizing Monkey. (Pamphlet)University of Edinburgh Cultural Collections Audit. 2005. University of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Julian Derry also created a web page entitled Varieties of Rheinhold's Philosophizing Monkey.

Richter, Jochen and Axel Schmetzke, "Der Philosophische Affe und die Eule der Minerva." In Horst Kant und Annette Vogt, eds., Aus Wissenschaftsgeschichte und -theorie. Hubert Laitko zum 70. Geburtstag überreicht von Freunden, Kollegen und Schülern. Berlin: Berliner Verlag für Wissenschafts- und Regionalgeschichte Dr. Michael Engel, 2005: 11-31. Available online at

Roberta Gordon Morgan and Adam G. N. Moore (Dec. 1, 1998). "Hugo Rheinhold's Monkey." 

Cumming, R.P., "Art Treasures and Furnishings in the Society's Hall." In Milne, George P.,ed. Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society. A Bicentennial History 1789-1989. Aberdeen University Press, 1989. See pp. 141-142 for section on "Darwin's Monkey." [Cumming quotes a longer statement by G.P. Milne, who, in turn, refers to an "account published in the 'College News' of the Royal College of Surgeons of England," probably in or around 1978. It is conceivable, if not likely, that Milne meant the "College and Faculty Bulletin." I'm in contact with the Curator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, who graciously offered to look for the "College News" article and for other information about their particular monkey bronze (Jan. 8, 2005).]

[Moore, Adam G. N.], "Editor's note" [in response to an inquiry (Letter to the Editor) concerning a monkey figure in the previous issue]. British Medical Students' Journal. 17(3), Fall 1962: p. 86. [The monkey statuette had appeared in issue 2 (Summer 1962), p. 65.] 2

Jochen Richter's book (in German) entitled Rasse Elite, Pathos. Eine Chronik zur medizinischen Biographie Lenins und zur Geschichte der Elitegehirnforschung in Dokumenten (Herbolzheim, Germany: Centaurus Verlag, 2000) includes a discussion of the multi-layered symbolism behind Rheinhold's monkey statuette (see pp. 1-3). See also the same author's article on "Zytoarchitektonik und Revolution - Lenins Gehirn als Raum und Objekt." Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2000, 23(3): 347-362 (esp. pp. 347-349).

Robert Payne. The Life and Death of Lenin. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964; Chapter entitled "The Ape and the Skull," pp. 626-633.

Aktien-Gesellschaft Vorm. H. Gladenbeck & Sohn Bildgiesserei. Abteilung B. Werke aus der Neueren Zeit und der Gegenwart. Berlin-Friedrichshagen. Page B65: Affe mit Schädel. [company catalog]1

Figur "Affe mit Schädel." Die Objekte der Folge 100 (January 14, 2007). Lieb & Teuer. Die Norddeutsche Antiquitäten Show. NDR Fernsehen.

Original Gladenbeck casting moulds1

Other sculptures by Hugo Rheinhold

Am Wege -- exhibited 1894 at the Groβe Berliner Kunstaustellung; marble; described in Mittheilungen vom Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebunde, Nr. 54, 1900: 11-15; described and interpreted by Lily von Gizycki, "Ein Rückblick auf die diesjährige Berliner Kunstausstellung." Ethische Kultur. 2 (35), 1894: 275-278, see page 278; brief positive comment in Alfred Rosenberg, "Die Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung, (Part) III," Kunstchronik, Neue Folge V, Nr. 32, 1893/1894 (23. August 1894), pp. 515-519 (see page 518 for comment); Die Gartenlaube, 1. Beiheft zum 24. Halbhelft, 1900: 2; also mentioned by Einholz.

Ausverkauft -- exhibited 1899 at the Groβe Berliner Kunstaustellung; plaster; included in Gladenbeck's catalog; mentinoned by Einholz; image in Berliner Architekturwelt, 1900, Vol. 2 (?): 139.

Barfüssige Marktfrau mit Weidenkorb -- 1899; bronze.

Brunnengrotte mit zwei Wassergottheiten exhibited 1900 at the Groβe Berliner Kunstaustellung; briefly described in Mittheilungen vom Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebunde, Nr. 54, 1900: 14; probably Rheinhold's last artistic creation; image in Berliner Architekturwelt, 1901, Vol.  ?: 137.


Das Dynamit im Dienst der Cultur -- erected in the Nobel-Hof, 1896, acc. to Einholz; cited in Allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon, ed. Wolfgang Singer. Frankfurt a. M.: Literarische Anstalt Rütten & Loening, 1920; Mittheilungen vom Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebunde, Nr. 54, 1900: 14; also referred to by Morgan and Moore.

Die Kämpfer -- mentioned in and Morgan and Moore.

Kampf (plaster) -- listed, without photo, in Katalog. Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. Berlin: Rud. Schuster, 1898, No. 1475.

Lesende Mönche -- included in Gladenbeck's catalog; also referred to by Morgan and Moore.

Schnitterin -- included in Gladenbeck's catalog; mentioned in and by Einholz.

Strike -- referred to in Mittheilungen vom Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebunde, Nr. 54, 1900: 14.

Hugo Rheinhold's signature

Berman, Harold. Abage Encyclopedia (Bronzes, Sculptors & Founders, 1800-1930). Chicago: Abage, 1974-1980 (4 vol. series). Vol. III: p. 815.

Pfisterer, Paul. Signaturenlexikon/Dictionary of Signatures. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1999. R300.

Signature on my "monkey statuette."


The original monkey statuettes (in three different sizes) were produced by the foundry Gladenbeck in Berlin, which was founded by Carl Gustav Hermann Gladenbeck in 1851. A detailed biography, along with a description of the foundry's history, is provided by Dietrich Nummert, "Bronzene Kunstwerke aus Meisterhand. Der Kunstgieβer Herman Gladenbeck (1927-1918)" in the Berlinische Monatsschrift, 1998, No. 11, pp. 59-61. According to Nummert, the firm, which underwent several ownership configurations, went bankrupt in 1911. The section on "Gladenbeck-Bronzen" at the Website of the Bronzegiesserei Herweg gives a later bankruptcy date: 1926. In addition to a brief company history, this site also contains information on the main steps involved in the creation of bronzes (follow the link to "Arbeitsgänge"). The explanatory text is in German, but the images speak for themselves.1 (The later bankruptcy date seems more likely. The Kunsthalle Bremen owns a Gladenbeck bronze dated 1914.)

Gladenbeck stamps ("Werbemarken" in German) advertising some of its sculptures

Gladenbeck stamps advertising some of its sculptures (click here for close-ups of these and other Gladenbeck stamps).

Harold Berman's four-volume Abage Encyclopedia (Bronzes, Sculptors & Founders, 1800-1930), published by Abage (Chicago), 1974-1980, depicts, and briefly describes, numerous sculptures cast by the Gladenbeck foundry. Volume I, II,  III and IV include 8, 7, 5 and 15 Gladenbeck sculptures, respectively. Further pieces, including larger statues, are mentioned by Nummert (cited above). Gladenbeck underwent several changes in name and ownership configuration. Unfortunately, the information provided by Berman is too inconsistent (and probably too inaccurate) to allow conclusions about the exact sequence and timing of these changes (see Table: Gladenbeck--name variations, works and dates). Fortunately, Nummert's article sheds some light on the matter:

Aktie der Aktien-Gesellschaft vorm. H. Gladenbeck & Sohn Bildgieβei über 1000 Mark; Berlin, Mai 1923.

Letter seal of Gladenbeck's Bronzegieβerei (Walter and Paul Gladenbeck); Friedrichshagen, Seestrasse 113.

--->Note (added 4-3-2004): The above information on the history of Gladenbeck is only partially correct. More in-depth information is provided in the publications by Sprink (2002), Schmidt (2003) and Berger (1988) (cited below). I will rewrite the above section at some point in the near future to reflect in more detail the information provided by these authors.

Further information is likely to be found in the following sources:

Gladenbeck seals

Works with a similar motif/iconography

Vienna bronzes: monkeys contemplating humanity (not by Rheinhold)

Other bronze monkeys with skull

Other monkey art works with a Darwinian angle

Pre-Darwinian monkey sculptures

Modern Appearances/Progeny

Paintings with monkeys in human roles (the "singerie" motif)

Monkey dressed as Hamlet holding and looking at a human skull.

Source: Stansfield, William. "Hamlet Revisited. How Evolution Really Works." Skeptic (published by the Skeptics Society). 2004, 10(4): p. 17. (Adapted from 19th-century illustrations by Grandville; reproduced with the permission of Skeptic magazine.)

Humans with skull

Human in thinking pose

Selected background readings

Jewish culture and life in 19th-century Germany

Jewish immigration to the western frontier of the United States and Jewish life in California (esp. San Francisco) during the second half of the 19th century

Intellectual and social movements in late 19th-century Germany

German artists in Rome

The arts scene in Germany (esp. Berlin) towards the end of the 19th century (with an emphasis on sculptures)

The monkey in the arts

The production of bronzes

Multiple productions, copies and authenticity in the arts (sculptures and other works of art)

Reception of Darwin's ideas about evolution in the 19th century1

Other relevant aspects of the history of science (phrenology, brain research etc.)

Exhibitions with Rheinhold's monkey

Shape of the Ape. Exhibition by Klaus Weber at the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, Nov. 3, 2007 - Feb. 2, 2008. The installation included two original Gladenbeck bronzes of Hugo Rheinhold's "Philosophizing Ape" (a large 29-cm version and a small 11-cm cast ), a variety of ca. 30 reproductions/imitations/adaptations of Rheinhold's sculpture (not made by Weber), and as center piecea set of oversized copies (made by Weber) of the original Gladenbeck mold pieces now used by the Seiler Bildgiesserei, Berlin, for its new re-editions. Sympathetic reviews appeared in Frieze Magazine (Issue 114, April 2008, Issue114; by Jonathan Griffin) and in Time Out New York (Issue 642, Jan 17–23, 2008 ; by.Joshua Mack).  

Klaus Weber exhibited a similar assembly at the Manifest 2008 in Trento, Italy. An article in the TAZ (24.7.2008) includes the following comment: “Zweifel an der Evolution und am Recht der Herrschaft des Menschen über die Tiere äußert Klaus Weber in einem Raum voller kleiner Affenskultpuren: Jeder der Affen sitzt auf einem Berg von Büchern und betrachtet einen Schädel, ganz so, als wäre er Hamlet.” Weber also presented a large-scale copy of Rheinhold's "Philosophizing Ape" sculpture at the Garten Tulln (Landesgartenschau in Lower Austria, April-Oct. 2008), where it is placed in the clearing of a forest, and at the Frieze Art Fair in London (Oct. 2008).

Tierschau. Wie unser Bild vom Tier entstand. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud in Cologne, Germany, 2007. [See also the catalog citation and the photo of the exhibition room.]

Fierce Friends. Artists & Animals in the Industrial Era, 1750-1900. Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, USA, 2005. [See also the catalog citation.]

Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung [Great Berlin Art Exhibition]. Berlin, Germany, 1893.


Pre-1950s bronze manifestations of Rheinhold's monkey

Table 1: Bronzes of Rheinhold's "Philosophizing  Monkey"--location, physical characteristics, foundry etc.

Location Owner
[with link to image]
Height (cm) Plinth/pedestal
Patina (color) Foundry Cast markings/
Aberdeen, UK Medico-Chirurgical Society/School of Medicine   bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? "37,124" on bottom; purchased 1913 in Berlin
Aberdeen, UK Col. N. Smith, then G.P. Milne,
now G.G. Milne
31 bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? "6291" on bottom;  purchased 1913 in Berlin
Alfriston, UK Private 31**; 7,000g bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? "6873" (?) and "JR. 19." or "TR. 19." (?) on bottom
Amsterdam (before in Munnekeburen),
The Netherlands
Schrijver 29*, 32,3** 21,5 x 19 (bronze) brown; skull repainted bone-color Gladenbeck ??  
Alert: newly added articleBerlin (before in Salem am Bodensee),
Dr. Jochen Richter ca. 29*, ca. 32** about square dark brown Gladenbeck ?? previously displayed at the Affenberg Salem
Calgary, Canada Private   about square   Gladenbeck ?? "33203" on bottom
Cheshire, England Malcolm Siddons ca. 29 about square   Gladenbeck ?? "26039 X"? on bottom
Cottbus, Germany Private ca. 10.3 square/round,
7.5 cm high, reddish
   "Akt.-Ges. vorm. H.G. & S."  (Gladenbeck)  
Edinburgh, UK University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences

30 (est)

25 x 20 (est.)   Gladenbeck ??  
Gloucester, UK Private


21 x 17.5 x 2.8 (marble); 19 x 16 x .8 (bronze) black/dark brown Gladenbeck ?? 10517 ?
Hagerstown, MD, USA Washington County Museum of Fine Arts


bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? "JR. 19." or "TR. 19." (?) on bottom
Hamburg, Germany private (Rheinhold relative) 16.5
(18 with base)
bronze dark brown "Aktien Ges. vorm. H.Gladenbeck & Sohn" family heirloom; letters "IE" or "IF" below "ERITIS SICUT DEUS" quote
Jena, Germany Ernst-Haeckel-Haus ca. 30 bronze dark brown Gladenbeck ??  
Karlsruhe, Germany Timo Mappes 15.6
(17.7 with base)
reddish, round marble base dark brown "Aktien Ges. vorm. H.Gladenbeck & Sohn"  letters "IE" or "IF" below "ERITIS SICUT DEUS" quote
Katikati, NZ Private 29* 21 x 17.5 x 2.5 (marble);
19 x 16 x 1 (bronze)
black/brown Gladenbeck ?? no foundry mark
New Zealand
Private 29        
Kingston, Canada Bracken Health Sciences Library, Queen's University 29 ?     Gladenbeck ??  
London, UK Royal College of Surgeons of England; see also this additional image 31,5 22 x 19,3 (base);   Gladenbeck ?? 13817; no foundry mark 9
(20 m S of) Moscow,  Russia Gorki Leninskiye   square   Gladenbeck ??  
Eduardo Miranda, M.D. 29*, 33** 21 x 18 x 3 (marble) black/dark brown Gladenbeck ?? 27164; purchased 1932 in Berlin
Mexico Private; currently for sale ca. 31**;
(ca. 20 lbs.)
bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? 43343; in family possession for over 70 years
Norwich, UK Private 10.5 round black-and-white
brown "Akt.-Ges. Gladenbe(ck) Berlin" known to owner for 60+ years
Oakville, ON, Canada Private 44.5 ?
(53 lbs)
      6043, 30842
Orchard Park, NY, USA Michael S. Albert 28.5
(9.3 kg**)
21 x 18 x 3 (marble);
19.5 x 16.5 x 1 (bronze)
  Gladenbeck ??  
Osaka, Japan Takashi Araki 32 21.3 x 19 x cm (bronze, integral part of the sculpture);
additional 10 cm tall marble plinth
dark brown Gladenbeck ?? JB
Oxford (Chinnor) Nowell Stebbing       Gladenbeck ??  
Oreland, Pennsylvania, USA
(before in Oxford, Ohio)
Private 29*, 32.5** 22 x 19 x 3.5 (bronze, integral part of the sculpture)   Gladenbeck ?? V, 45162
Alert: newly added articleParis, France Jean-Marc Weill 17 (not incl. the base)
hexagonal (marble) brown "AKT.GES GLADENBECK BERLIN D7009" owned since ca. 1938
Skillman, NJ, USA Private (Rheinhold relative) 14**     "Akt.-Ges. vorm. H.G. & S."  (Gladenbeck) family heirloom
Stevens Point, WI, USA Axel Schmetzke 28.5* 21 x 18 x 2.4 (marble); 19 x 16 x .8 (bronze) brown Gladenbeck ?? AK 31 037
Stevens Point, WI, USA Axel Schmetzke 10.5 round black-and-white
brown "Akt.-G. vorm. H.G. & S."  (Gladenbeck)  
Alert: newly added articleSuperior, WI, USA Superior Public Library ca. 31** bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? "4604" on bottom
Alert: newly added articleSydney, Australia Private (pictures soon to come) ca. 33**   brown Gladenbeck ?? 24607, also 6043 on slip of paper attached to marble base; in family for over 60 years.
Tacoma, WA, USA Private 31.8 22 x 19 brown Gladenbeck ?? 39246
Toronto, ON, Canada Private 17
(19 with base)
round marble, 11.8 x 2 cm, black-and-white marble brown with tan painted skull "Aktien Ges. vorm. H.Gladenbeck & Sohn"  family heirloom; letters "IE" or "IF" below "ERITIS SICUT DEUS" quote
Unknown**** Private 18.5
(ca. 7kg)
round, 12 x 2 cm, red-brown   Gladenbeck (marked)  
Unknown Private 29 rectangular Black-Brown Gladenbeck ?? see Berman, Vol. III.
Vienna, Austria Private ca. 31-32 bronze (integral part of the sculpture) brown Gladenbeck ?? "6092" and "JR." or "TR." on bottom
Wisconsin, USA*** Private 29* 33** 21 x 17.5 dark brown Gladenbeck ??  
Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA Carol Rennard 29* 33** 21 x 18 dark brown Gladenbeck (acc. to owner) 16R 2 43
Zürich, Switzerland Private 19* 21*
(2166 g with marble plinth)
about square brown; grainy surface unknown three letters (IEN or IFN) below "ERITIS SICUT DEUS" quote


*       Measured from the top of the bronze platform (integral to the statuette) to the top of the monkey's head.

**     Including base

***   Former location: South America

**** Previously assumed to be at the Boston Medical Library; this assumption was incorrect.


Please help me fill in the blanks in this table or correct the information currently in it. (I will soon add instructions on how to take unambiguous measurements.) If you have any information that would be helpful in this regard, please contact me via e-mail.



Table 2: Rheinhold's "Philosophizing  Monkey"--Summary of Auction Records


Auctioneer/Source Location Year Height in cm Material (Foundry) Est. Price (Hammer Price) Listed Title & Other Info
M 1984;
Bénézit 1999
New York, USA May 17, 1983 33 cm (incl. base) bronze; dark brown patina US$ 1,200 "An allegorical figure of a monkey studying a skull"
Sotheby West Sussex*/
ASI 1985/86
Pulborough, UK Feb. 25, 1986 31 cm bronze; brown patina US$ 730 "Chimpanzee admiring a skull"
London, UK May19, 1990 31 cm copper electrotype not provided The Evolution of the Species;" by Hugo Wolfgang Reinhold [sic]; [NOT an original; A.S.]
Leo Spik/Sonderkatalog zur Auktion 554 Berlin, Germany Oct. 13, 1990 16.5 cm  (w/o base) bronze
DM 120
"Affe als Bücherwurm. Auf Folianten sitzend"; unassembled statuette in three pieces***
Bolland & Marotz/
Bremen, Germany Dec. 13, 1991 33.7 cm bronze with patina not provided "Eritis Sicut Deus;" by Hugo Wolfgang Reinhold [sic]
Leo Spik/
M 1997
Berlin, Germany June 13, 1996 17 cm  (w/o base) pat. bronze
DM 1,400
(DM 4,000)
"Sein oder Nichtsein;" signed; marble base; "Reinhold [sic], Hugo, 1853-1900"**
Kunsthaus am Museum--Carola van Ham 2*/M 1997; ASI 1995/96 Köln (Cologne), Germany June 20, 1996 16.5 cm bronze
DM 800
(ca. DM 2,200)
"Auf Bücherstapel sitzender Affe mit Totenkopf ..."
ASI 1996/97
Glasgow, UK Dec. 13, 1996 31 cm pat. bronze ($1452) "Chimpanzee contemplating human skull seated on books"
Allgäuer Auktionshaus*/
APA 1998; M 1998
Kempten, Germany Jan. 11, 1997 32 cm galvanoplastic sculpture $376 ($441) "Sitzender Affe beim Betrachten eines Menschenschädels;" [NOT an original; A.S.]
APA 2001
New York, USA May 31, 2000 29.5 cm bronze; marble plinth $2,500-3,000 ($4,500) "The Origin of the Species"; base; insc. "Rheinhold"
APA 2001
Saarbrücken, Germany Oct. 7, 2000 12.9 cm bronze; marble base $1,066 ($1,066) "Eritis Sicut Deus"
APA 2003
Zofingen, Switzerland June 1, 2002 11 cm bronze $829 ($829) "Die Darwin'sche Evolutionstheorie aus der Sicht des Affens"

Auktionshaus  Dannenberg5

Berlin, Germany Dec. 6, 2003 32.5 cm bronze $250 ($500) "Schimpanse über die Lehren Darwins grübelnd"
Rose Hill Auction Gallery Englewood, New Jersey, USA Dec. 15, 2003 (12.5") bronze; brown patina; plinth integral part of the sculpture $3,500 – 4,500 "Monkey on Books"

Auktionshaus Schopmann5

Hamburg, Germany Sept. 1, 2004 32,5 cm bronze; marble base; brown patina $700 ($1,100) Hugo Wolfgang Reinhold [sic]; "Eritis Sigut Deus" [sic]


Eldred's Auctioneers1

East Dennis, MA, USA Dec. 3, 2004 32.5 cm "white metal" $500-700
"signed Rheinhold"; without "Eritis Sicut Deus" inscription;
[NOT an original; A.S.]



Seminole, FL, USA Dec. 5, 2004 17 cm
(w/o base)
reddish round marble base
(reserve not met)
signed Rheinhold; inscribed "Aktien-Ges. vorm H. Gladenbeck & Sohn


Ritchies Auctioneers

Toronto, ON, Canada Sept. 21, 2005 32.5 cm
patinated copper-clad sculpture, not solid bronze

C $500-700

(C $400.00)

"after Hugo Rheinhold;" "39244" incised in base; artist's signature illegible;[NOT an original; A.S.]

Hallands Auktionsverk

Halmstad, Sweden March 29, 2007 17 cm bronze; missing skull (Sw. Kr. 2,600) Foundry markings: "N. Herz & Söhne Wiesbaden"


Notes and sources:


APA--Art Price Annual (& Folk's Art Price Index)

M    --Mayer (International Auction Records)

ASI --Art Sales Index


*         Illustrated in Auction Catalog.

**       No mentioning of a "monkey" in the auction description; this may be a different piece.

***     Artist (Rheinhold) not mentioned.

****   Phone inquiry


Davenport's Art & Price Guide 2003/2004 provides a US$ 750 estimate for the 12" "monkey" bronze.


FXHistory (Look-up tool for historical currency exchange rates)


Further information about specific casts

Lenin's monkey

Perhaps best known of all of Rheinhold's ape statuettes is the specimen in Lenin's Study, kept intact as a museum within the Kremlin (Senate Building) until the end of the Soviet era. That bronze was given to Lenin by Armand Hammer, who had purchased it at a London antique shop, in 1922 (Armand Hammer, Hammer, New York: Putnam's Sons, 1987, p. 139; Steve Weinberg, Armand Hammer. The Untold Story, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1989, p. 49; L. Kunetskaya. Lenin in the Kremlin. Moscow: Novosti Press Agency, 1970?, p23; Mikhail Bruk, cited below.) According to Andrew Stuttaford (2001), in 1994 the statuette was moved to Gorki Leninskiye (alt. spelling: Leninskie), Lenin's former country estate some 20 mile south of Moscow, where, for a number of years, it was stored in one of the original buildings of the Morozov estate near the Political History Museum. Today (at least since 2007), it poses, again, prominently in Lenin's study, recreated in the "Museum 'Office and Apartment of V.I. Lenin in the Kremlin'," housed in a building that is part of the larger State History Museum-Preserve 'Gorki Leninskiye' complex (Wikipedia: Gorki Leninskiye, accessed Dec. 17, 2008; Rob Person, personal communication, Dec. 17, 2008).

Hugo Rheinhold's "Philosophizing Ape" in Lenin's recreated study in Gorki Leninskiye (courtesy Rob Person, © 2007). As the photo in the middle (circled section) clearly shows, this sculpture, like all other 13" Gladenbeck casts known to me (see Table 1 and 2), does not carry the foundry markings.

While Hammer appears to have seen in Rheinhold's figurine simply an illustration of Darwin's theory of man's origin, Lenin supposedly (according to Hammer) gave it the following interpretation: "[T]he sculptor wanted to warn mankind that it might degenerate into the primordial state if people did not put an end to wars and learn to live at peace with one another." (Y. Kashlev. Cultural Contacts Promote Peaceful Coexistence. Moscow: Novosti Press Publishing House, 1974: pp. 5-6).

Robert Payne devotes a short chapter on "The Ape and the Skull" in his book The Life and Death of Lenin (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964); pp. 626-633. According to an article in Time Magazine (Jan. 29, 1973; "Trying to Hammer a Deal") Hammer, in his negotiations with the Soviets in the early 1970s, "claimed that Lenin had died looking at a present from him. When the flabbergasted Soviets asked how he could possibly know that, Hammer blandly replied that Lenin had died at his desk, on which there was only one object: a bronze statue, given by Hammer, depicting a monkey sitting on a book by Darwin and gazing at a skull." (The article also sets the record straight: "Lenin died in his bed in Gorki, and the desk is crowed with a variety of objects.) For a critical discussion of Hammer's dealings with Lenin, see also Gillette, Philip S., "Armand Hammer, Lenin, and the First American Concession in Soviet Russia." Slavic Review, Vol. 40, No. 3. (Autumn, 1981), pp. 355-365.

Images of Rheinhold's Monkey in Lenin's (original) Study are found at the following sites:

The bronze is also briefly mentioned in Peter Weiss, Die Ästhetik des Widerstands. Zweiter Band (Vol. 2). Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1985: p. 64. "Zwei Telephone standen auf dem Schreibtisch, und eine Bronzeskulptur ... einen Affen nämlich, der grübelnd dasass, die eine Hand am Kinn, in der andern einen Menschenschädel haltend."

The bronze was shown at "Gifts to Soviet Leaders," a 2006 exhibition in the Kremlin, which displayed some of the more unique gifts selected from the tens of thousands of objects presented to Soviet presidents--from Lenin to Gorbachev--between 1921 and 1990. (Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (ed.), Dary vozhdiam. Katalog vystavki. Gifts to Soviet Leaders. Moscow: 2006: p. 213).10

"Attersee" monkey

"Sensation am Attersee"--a short article, probably published in April 1953 in a yet unidentified German-language magazine, deals with the first item salvaged from a plane (Ju 88) wreck that had been resting at the bottom of Lake Attersee (Austria) since the end of WW II: a statue of Rheinhold's monkey.  (Presumably, the plane was under order of Hitler and carried secret documents as well as bars of gold.)

"Caldecotte's" monkey

A cast of Rheinhold's monkey entitled "The Tables Turned," with a plate falsely suggesting that it was created by "Randolf Caldecotte" [sic], is featured at the website of the Randolph Caldecott Society UK: An image of this statuette is also found on the Celtiberia Web site, along with the following caption: " Escultura en bronce de Hugo Rheinhold."

"Pensee de Darwin"-- monkey statuette depicted on the title page of Ward's Natural Science Bulletin, March 1953 issue

In 1962, W.C. Gamble, Vice-President of Ward’s Natural Science Establishment, Inc. reported that Ward’s had received some 500 requests for the photography of this statuette, that he had distributed about 25,000 pictures of the little statue over the past few years, and that “every time we go to a Convention, people are fascinated by it.” (Letter, dated March 23, 1962, from W.C. Gamble to Mr. William M. Ziegler, Vice-President, Del Wood Associates). The statuette shown on the title page of Ward's Natural Science Bulletin is certainly not a Gladenbeck cast; it appears to be a rather crude replica.

Monkey incorrectly credited to Gertrude Alice (Meredith) Williams (Edinburgh, c. 1880).

Featured in Christopher Payne, Animals in Bronze. Reference and Price Guide. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Antique Collectors' Club, 1986, p. 64, plate A6. According to an email received from the Liverpool Record Office (Dec. 1, 2004), the birth of Gertrude Alice Williams was registered in West Derby, part of Liverpool (UK), in the September quarter of 1877. If the 1880 date was correct, the artist would have created the statuette when she was about three years old.

Two sculptures with "G.A. Meredith" inscriptions (similar, but clearly not identical, to that of Hugo Rheinhold) were sold at auctions in the New York/New Jersey region in the mid-to-late 1990s. According to one of the current owners, the statuette was manufactured in Thailand.

"MENE" sculpture

The ape sculpture on Hainan Island, China  -- a large-scale imitation/adaptation of Rheinhold's philosophizing monkey.

Frontispiece in Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure.

The monkey at Queens University, Ontario (see also Table 1)

Virginia Parker, "Casting light on Darwin's Ape at Queen's University." Canadian Medical Association Journal. 122 (No. 6--March 22): 708-709. 4

newly added articleVan Halen OU812 promotional monkey sculpture



Miscellaneous images of Rheinhold's Monkey on the Web

Modern re-edition and reproductions


Re-edition from original Gladenbeck casting molds

Hugo Rheinhold's monkey statuette: original 13 cm mold, along with two castings at various stages of production



Readers interested in purchasing a Rheinhold's monkey bronze, cast from original Gladenbeck molds, please click here










Photo courtesy of Jochen Richter1




Other quite accurate reproductions


(soon to come)



Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


1. What is the current market value of the older bronze statuettes of Rheinhold's monkey?


All the market information known to me is summarized in Table 2 (above).  DM stands for "German Marks", and  $ refers to US $.  You will find a link to a historical currency converter beneath Table 2.


Please don't ask me to about the value of your particular statuette. What I know about the value of Gladenbeck's "monkey" statuettes is depicted in Table 2.


2. Where can I find adaptations, imitations or reproductions of Rheinhold's monkey statuette?


Some of the sculptures below are no longer produced and hard to get. However, some of them (those marked with an asterisc*) are either still being produced or frequently offered on eBay. Roughly, the order of  the sculptures is based on a combination of criteria, including beauty, workmanship, and trueness to the original in terms of shape and material. The most aesthetically pleasing, best executed, most true-to-the-original sculptures are presented last. Needless to say, there is a certain subjectivity to that order. Only the Van den Heuvel and the Blakemore (2008) statuettes are made of metal.


Darwinian Monkey by Satini


Darwinian Monkey Imitation by Statue King


Darwinian Monkey Imitation by Marwal


Reproduction of the Marwal version in red
Marwal Imitation (red)

Reproduction of the Marwal version--ash colored
Marwal imitation (ash)*
Marwal type monkey as bank
Marwal-type bank
Inarco monkey with skull
Progressive Art ape with skull

Progressive Art

Ape with skull with "Saltator Sepulcri" inscription
Saltator Sepulcri

Darwinian Monkey Imitation by Austin 1962

Austin '62*

Austin 2005 Ape with Skull
Austin '05*

Reproduction of the Austin version--ash colored
Austin imitation (ash)*

Siperstein Ape with Skull


Ape with skull--glazed plaster
"Glazed plaster"


More coming soon


More coming soon


More coming soon


More coming soon

More coming soon

Monkey with skull bronze at Regent Antiques
Bronze at Regent Antiques

More coming soon

Darwinian Monkey Imitation by Tupton


Darwinian Monkey Imitation--colored version

Unknown (eBay)*.

Darwinian Monkey Replica by Alva


Darwinian Monkey Replica by Blackmore, ca. 1990

Blakemore (1990s?)

Ape with skull and calipers by Parastone


Ape with skull and calipers by Van den Heuvel Ape
Van den Heuvel

Blakemore 2008 bronze replica Blakemore (2008)* 6

For source information regarding the above images, click here. Further images might be found at Julian Derry's Web site "Varieties of Rheinhold's Philosophizing Monkey."


The imitations of Rheinhold's monkey statuette produced by Austin Sculpture are offered by a number of outlets. Often two different sizes are offered. Typically, the artist is claimed to be "Ramo" (sometimes "Francisco Ramo"; sometimes 1926 is given as his year of birth).  Why this claim is made is beyond me. The scene of a monkey sitting on a pile of books with a human skull in its right hand and a caliper in its right foot is clearly attributable to Hugo Rheinhold. (If there is any room for doubt about Rheinhold's originality, the challenger is not Ramo but one of the "Vienna bronze" sculptors, such as the unknown artist who created the bronze statuette entitled "Smart Like Me.").


Companies other than Austin Sculpture have been marketing similarly cheap imitations. It appears that at least one version of the "Ramo" imitation renders the statuette without the caliper. The skull of all these imitations seems to be made of some white material (not bronze with a dark brown patina). During the past two years, colored versions have emerged on the market. Examples include the colored monkey depicted above and the small version sold by


Links to a few stores selling reproductions attributed to "Ramo" are provided on a subsidiary page, along with further critical commentary.


In October 2004, Prof. Rolf Grimm brought to my attention two Ebay sellers offering imitations of Rheinhold's monkey, which they attribute to "Tupton." (In fact, their resin-based, bronze-colored imitation is signed "O. Tupton.") The sellers also claim that this statuette is based on an anonymous poem entitled "Darwin's Mistake." The sellers claim to "describe [their] items honestly." Whether honesty is indeed a virtue of these sellers remains to be seen. I have contacted them on Oct. 14, 2005, and alerted them to the misinformation contained in their product and advertisement.


It is quite possible, if not likely, that "O. Tupton" is not the name of a person (real or fictitious), but the name of a company, "Old Tupton," which seems to specialize, among others, in the manufacturing of sculptures made of bronze-patinated resin. "Old Tupton" products seem to be distributed by export-import outfits to various retailers, at least some of which offer them on eBay.


Various cheap imitations of Rheinhold's monkey are quite frequently auctioned of on eBay. I have archived a few of these auctions. Please also read the warning on this page.


On occassion, writings surface that seem to rely uncritically on the information provided by the manufacturers. A case in point is Blair A. Gadsby's article "Not from Us, Dudes," published in Atheneum, a publication put out by the Philosophy & Religious Studies Unit at Chandler-Gilbert Community College [2(2), 2001, p 1,3].  Not only does the author falsely credit Francisco Ramo with the creation of the "monkey" sculpture, he also draws a connection between the artist and the above mentioned poem (elsewhere often entitled "Darwin's Mistake"): "Accompanying his sculpture, Ramo included the following poem ...: Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree ..."(p.1). While it may be true that those who produce or sell "Ramo" or "Tupton" imitations often add copies of "Darwin's Mistake" to their merchandise, there is no evidence whatsoever that Hugo Rheinhold has been influenced by this poem or that he would have endorsed it.


If Francisco Ramo or O. Tupton is indeed the real name of the person who, without proper crediting, imitated Rheinhold's Philosophizing Monkey, he certainly has not much else going for him that resulted in public recognition within art circles. Saur's 1999/2000 The Artists of the World Bio-Biographical Index A-Z, a hefty 10-volume index to biographical information about artists, does not include an entry for either F. Ramo or O. Tupton. A similar search in pertinent electronic biographical databases--Biographies Plus (Wilson) and the Biography and Genealogy Master Index (CIC)--yields no matches, either.


As an aside, The Columbia Grainger's Index to Poetry in Anthologies (12th ed., 2002), a standard reference tool to locate specific poems--by either author, title, first line, or last line--does not refer at all to the poem often referred to as "Darwin's Mistake." Its existence appears to be limited to the online world, where it is not only used by sellers of "Ramo" or Tupton" imitations to advertise their merchandise; it can also be found on some fifty different Web sites, quite a few of which promote a conservative, anti-evolutionist Christian point of view.


Some sculptures come in very small sizes--as netsuke or charm, for example.


Monkey with skull Netsuke


Small monkey with skull silver charm



3. I own another bronze produced by Gladenbeck. What can you tell me about this foundry and the value of their statuettes?


The history of Gladenbeck is relatively well documented. Please check the Gladenbeck section above; for more detail, consult the cited resources. Unfortunately, only Dietrich Nummert's article is freely available online; for access to the other cited resources visit your local library (probably its interlibrary loan department) or order the documents from the publishers (links are provided).


I don't know anything about the value of Gladenbeck's other statuettes (see also FAQ #1). Gladenbeck was known for its quality work. I would assume that the value of a Gladenbeck cast depends, for the most part, on the artist who created the piece and on its size.


4. How do I know whether my statuette was produced by Gladenbeck?


Look for foundry markings similar, but not necessarily identical, to those depicted in the seals/marks section. Typically, Gladenbeck markings do not consist of foundry stamps ("Gieβer-Stempel"), but of inscriptions engraved into the original model, which are then reproduced in the casts (Berger, 1988). Sprink (2002, p. 25) also reports the use of "Wachs- oder Metall-Plomben" (wax- or metal seals). However, both authors agree that not all Gladenbeck bronzes carry company markings. Especially older castings and zinc statuettes often come without foundry markings. Berger (ibid.) suggests that, in general, unmarked bronzes (with the exception of popular reproductions of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures) should be presumed to be genuine Gladenbeck castings if these bronzes were included in the company's program.



Created by:

Axel Schmetzke, Ph.D.



University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

900 Reserve

Stevens Point, WI 54481



Comments and contributions are welcome! Before contacting me with questions, please check the Frequently Ask Question (FAQ) section first. I will not answer questions already addressed in the FAQ section. I'm also likely to ignore questions that are sloppily written or violate common netiquette.

 I'm fluent only in English and German. I will only respond to inquiries made in one of these two languages.

Copyright issues

Most materials on this web site (this page as well as all its subsidiary pages) are subject to US and international copyright. Images or text must not be reproduced in any way for commercial purposes (including advertisement). If you wish to use an image found on this site for education- or research-related publications or other not-for-profit projects (even if these are "merely" web pages and blogs), please contact the creator of this site and inquire about the copyright situation. Please note that copyright applies regardless of whether an explicit copyright statement is provided. Even very old images may be subject to copyright if they have been recently modified/enhanced.

If your inquiry reveals that copyright has expired, or if you have been given permission by the copyright holder to use a specific image, you are still expected to credit the sourceboth the original source (if known) as well as the page on this site from where the image was downloaded.


Credit is due to the following individuals, which have pointed out numerous resources and shared with me their ideas and insights. My apologies if, by sheer oversight or laps of memory, I failed to acknowledge, properly, specific contributions:

1 Dr. Jochen Richter, Berlin, Germany
2 Dr. Adam G. N. Moore, Newmarket, New Hampshire, USA
3 Dr. Charles Morgan, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
4 Elizabeth MacDonald-Pratt, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
5 Prof. Rolf Grimm, Vorsitzender der Gustav-Eberlein Stiftung e.V., Hann. Münden, Germany

6 Julian F. Derry, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK, Scotland

7 Dr. Marion Epstein, Skillman, New Jersey, USA

8 Eric Johnson, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library, New Jersey, USA.

9 Simon Chaplin, Museums of the Royal Surgeons of England, London, UK.

10 Rob Person, Department of Political Science, Yale University, New Haven, USA.


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