Skip to Content
Today Open today 10–11 members | 11–8 public

The Soul of Contentment (Black Bear)

A work made of bronze with black patina.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of bronze with black patina.


Modeled 1886, cast 1886–99


Edward Kemeys (American, 1843–1907)

About this artwork

Edward Kemeys produced both large- and small-scale bronze sculptures—perhaps most notably, the famous lions that flank the Art Institute’s Michigan Avenue entrance (1893.1a and 1893.1b), which were created for the museum’s opening during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The artist’s subjects were partially informed by his western travels and studies of animals in their natural habitats. Unlike his Locked in Death, however—which shows animals as predatory—Soul of Contentment is a sentimental study of nature at its most domesticated.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Edward Kemeys (Sculptor)


The Soul of Contentment (Black Bear)


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Modeled 1886


Bronze with black patina


Signed on right side of base: "Edward Kemeys 1886"


26.7 × 35.6 × 25.4 cm (10 1/2 × 14 × 10 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Margaret S. Watson

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions