According to the Museum's registrar, "the sculpture was a gift to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in 1969 by Mr. Alfred Wolkenberg, New York, New York." Mr. Wolkenberg was the President of Alva Museum Replicasa company that produced, among others, a replica of Hugo Rheinhold's ape statuette (in the 1950s and 1960s, or thereabout). (For more information on Alva, see Alfred Eris, "Art Originals Come to Life." Nation's Business, April 1950, 38 , p. 69.)
The bronze, whose title is recorded as "Pensees de Darwin" [sic] at the Museum, is 12-1/2" high, and the base measures 7-1/2" x 8-5/8." ("Pensee de Darwin" [sic] was also the title of the replicaa replica different from that produced by Alvadepicted on the cover page of Ward's Natural Science Bulletin (Vol. XXVI, No. 4, March 1953).
Unfortunately, the sculpture is currently kept in storage, and, according to the registrar, there are no immediate plans to change this.
The markings on the bottom ("JR. 4." or "FR. 4.") are of special interest, as they suggest that this particular bronze has been worked on by the same "chiseleur" as the cast located in Alfriston, East Sussex, UK, which carries the marking "JR. 19." (or "FR. 19."). The cast in Osaka has similar markings; however, it looks more like "JB" or "FB". All other currently known casts presumed to be original Gladenbeck productions carry different, for the most part number-based markings.
Face with skull (close-up)*
Foot holding calipers (close-up)*
Eritis Sicut Deus (close-up)*
"JR. 4." or "FR. 4." markings on bottom (close-up)*
Rheinhold's signature (close-up)*
*All photos on this page courtesy of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland, USA (© 2007).
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Axel Schmetzke, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481