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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

168) The 50 Euro Gold Coin Series – “Klimt and his women” issued by the Austrian Mint (2012-2016): Commemorating Klimt’s 150th Birth Anniversary from 2012 onwards with a Coin Series on his paintings:



168) The 50 Euro Gold Coin Series – “Klimt and his women” issued by the Austrian Mint (2012-2016): Commemorating Klimt’s 150th Birth Anniversary from 2012 onwards with a Coin Series on his paintings:

(1) “Adele Bloch-Bauer I” (2012): (2) “The Expectation” (2013): (3)Judith II”) (2014):

The Second Coin in the Series “The Expectation” won the “2015 Coin Of The Year” (COTY) Award in the prestigious Krause Publications Competition held for coins issued in 2013:


Gustav Klimt (14.07.1862 – 06.02.1918):


Gustav Klimt was the son of a gold engraver in Vienna in 1862. He grew up during the boom years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when the city was undergoing the intense period of economic growth that made it one of the world’s hotbeds of creativity.

After attending the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, Klimt found himself among those commissioned to create decorations for the monumental buildings that are still found in the Austrian capital today.

He was a symbolist painter and is noted for his murals, sketches and other “objets d’art” (meaning “Works of Art”). His primary subject was the female body and his works are marked by a frank eroticism.

Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner. Tiring of the conventions of interior design at the time, influenced by Symbolism, he moved out towards a new artistic direction. He found fame as the co-founder and first President of the “Wiener Sezession” (or the “Vienna Secession”) and that of the group’s periodical “Ver Sacrum” (or “Sacred Spring”), which showcased the artistic works of its members, and which was an artistic movement that rejected the prevailing conservatism in the Viennese Art World at the end of the 19th century.  

The group encouraged all styles of Art – traditional or innovative and had Pallas Athene, the Greek Goddess of just causes, wisdom, and the Arts, as its symbol – of whom Klimt painted his radical version in 1898.

 Among the Artists of the “Vienna Secession”, he was the most influenced by Japanese Art and its methods.

In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. As he matured in his craft, he developed a more personal style. His later works were subject to much controversy, particularly when he completed the paintings around 1900 AD for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna, which were labelled as “pornographic”. He never accepted any more public commissions after this work.

The “Golden Phase” of Klimt’s artistic career:

This was followed by the “golden phase” of his career, which led him to scale the pinnacle of his career.

Like many great artists, Klimt’s work was characterised by distinct creative periods, one of the most successful being his “golden phase”.  Klimt’s “golden phase” was marked by positive critical reaction and tremendous success. Many of his paintings from this period used gold leaf: the prominent use of gold can first be traced back to Pallas Athene (1898) and Judith I (1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) and The Kiss (1907-1908). Klimt travelled little but to Venice and Ravenna, both famous for their mosaics, which in all probability inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery.

In 1904, he collaborated with other artists on the lavish “Palais Stoclet”, which was one of the grandest monuments of the “Art Nouveau Age” (meaning “New Age Art”). Klimt’s contributions to the dining room included both “Fulfilment” and “Expectation” which were some of his finest decorative works.

Between 1907 and 1909, he painted five canvasses of society women wrapped in fur. His apparent love of costume is expressed in the many photographs of Emile Louise Floge, modelling the clothing that he designed.

His simple life was somewhat cloistered, devoted to Art and little else except for the Viennese Secessionist Movement made him interact socially and left to himself, he avoided café society and other artists socially. His repute usually brought patrons to him but he was highly selective. His painting method was very deliberate and painstaking at times and he required lengthy sittings from his subjects.

A woman whose relationship to the Artist is still a matter of speculation, a tree blossoming in a mystical manner, a kiss that continues to move the world more than a century after it was painted. These are just three of the works from Klimt’s golden phase that open up manifold associations of love, happiness and hope to the viewer.

Always at the centre of controversy, after more than 30 prolific years and equal measure of success and criticism, Klimt died following a stroke at the age of 55 in 1918. His reputation and popularity have survived over a century & he remains one of the most popular artists of his time.

Posthumous publications:

In 1919, after Klimt passed away, “Funfundzwanzig Handzeichnungen” (or “Twenty-five Drawings”) was published in Vienna by Gilhofer & Ranschburg. The first edition featured 500 copies with 25 monochrome and two-colour collotype reproductions almost as good as the original works of Klimt. The first ten editions also contained an original Klimt drawing.

Many of the works contained in this volume depicted erotic scenes of nude women with some masturbating and others in Sapphic embraces. Some of his drawings which were even more lurid depictions of women were taken in a book translation by Viennese poet Franz Blei of the Hellenic satirist Lucian’s “Dialogues of the courtesans”. It was as if Klimt was thumbing his noses to the prudes of the world even after his death and thrilling patrons with his unabashed depictions of the female form.

Gustav Klimt’s paintings are among the most famous, coveted and valuable in the World today.

Commemorative coins by the Austrian Mint featuring Gustav Klimt:

In addition to the permanent exhibitions on display, Vienna celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the birth if Klimt with special exhibitions in 2012.

Earlier, The Austrian Mint in 2003 brought out a 100 Euro Painting gold Coin. On the obverse is depicted Klimt in his studio with two unfinished paintings on easels.

To celebrate/commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Viennese master’s birth in 1862, the Austrian Mint from 2012 onwards is bringing out a five coin Series titled “Klimt and his Women”. From classical and allegorical to erotic, mythological or biblical and portraits, Klimt portrayed female beauty like few other painters could. His name is synonymous with the representation of the female form in its various aspects.

In keeping with Klimt’s “Golden Phase”, the Austrian Mint is bringing out these commemorative coins in gold, each depicting a different painting of a woman from that phase.

Each of the five coins bears one letter from Klimt’s name i.e. K, L, I, M or T, so that the entire series will all together spell “KLIMT”.

The Series started with the 50 Euro Gold coin “Adele Bloch-Bauer” (2012), 50 Euro Gold coin “The Expectation” (2013), 50 Euro Gold Coin “Judith II”, (2014).

A 50 Euro Gold Coin on “Adele Bloch-Bauer I”  (2012):

This is a prime example of Klimt’s “golden phase”. The portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is the first of the artist’s masterpieces to feature in this Commemorative Coin Series. It was also the most expensive painting in the World, when it was purchased by the “Neue Galerie” (meaning “New Gallery”) in New York for a sum of $135 million in 2006.



This painting took longer than any of Klimt’s works to finish and features the only model to be painted more than once by the Viennese master – the wife of a wealthy industrialist and patron of the Arts Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. It was completed in 1907 having been was created from oils and gold leaf, and is both ethereal and enigmatic.



On the Reverse of this coin, the elaborate “Jugendstil ornamentation of the painting’s background provides an intricate contrast to the smoother relief of the subject’s head in the foreground. Adele is facing front in this portrait and has been engraved as such on this face of the coin.

On the Obverse of this Coin, a handsome portrait of Klimt himself is engraved in profile, facing right.

This being the first coin in the Series, the start of the spelling of Klimt’s name i.e. the letter “K” features towards the left hand bottom to mark the start of the Series. 
A maximum mintage of 30,000 coins were issued under this design in Proof quality.

A 50 Euro Gold Coin on “ The Expectation” (2013):
 Few painters have succeeded in portraying the female form with such aplomb as Gustav Klimt. A case in point is “The Expectation”, which features a lady waiting in all her finery.



This painting is clearly inspired by Egyptian Art and is a fine example of how Klimt found inspiration in the past yet succeeded in creating a work of Art which is completely modern and original. It also exemplifies Klimt’s trademark swirling decorative designs.

On the Reverse of this coin is featured the face of the woman in Klimt’s painting, facing right.

Similarly, on the obverse of this coin, the Tree of Life is a beautiful design and both pictures are mosaics from Klimt’s famous Frieze            seen on the walls of the “Palais Stoclet” in Brussels. This painting was commissioned by a wealthy Belgian family who owned the Palais. Work on the Stoclet Frieze was actually undertaken by the “Wiener Werkstatte”, the path-breaking Viennese modernist workshop of visual artists.

This being the second coin in the Series, the second letter in the spelling of Klimt’s name i.e. the letter “L” features towards the left hand bottom to mark the start of the Series.

These coins are minted in Proof quality, with a maximum mintage of 30,000.

This coin has recently been declared the “Best Gold Coin” issued in 2013 in the prestigious Krause Publications Coin Of The Year Competition concluded recently, and has also won the  “overall winner category”  being declared the “2015 Coin Of The Year” (COTY). Details are given at the bottom of this post.

A 50 Euro Gold Coin on Judith II, (2014):



The life-size portrait shows a gaunt and bushy-haired Judith looking to her right as she clutches the severed head of Holoferenes, an Assyrian general who was threatening to destroy her home city of Bethulia.

On the Reverse of this Gold Coin is shown the bust of Judith from Klimt’s painting. Also seen is Klimt’s customary swirling “art nouveau” ornamentation features on this face. Gustav Klimt did not just paint women, he revolutionised the world’s image of them. The third coin in this Series, “Judith II”, in which she is portrayed as the saviour of her people, the Israelites is portrayed as a chilling femme fatale.

The starkly naked red-headed woman holds the mirror of truth, while above her is a quotation by Friedrich Schiller in stylised lettering “KANNST DU NICHT ALLEN GEFALLEN DURCH DEINE THAT UND DEIN KUNSTWERK MACHE ES WENIGEN RECHT. VIELEN GEFALLWN 1ST SCHLIMM. SCHILLER” (“If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please only a few. To please many is bad. Schiller”). The mirror in the woman’s hand reflects the art exposed at this exhibition – therefore Modern art is “Veritas” (or “The Truth”) and the woman is ‘Nuda” (meaning “Naked”) together with “Veritas” represents the “Naked Truth”.



The Obverse of this Coin, is graced with “Nuda Veritas” (meaning “The Naked Truth”) from Klimt’s golden phase.

(The German name for Art  Nouveau, “Jugendstil” was a rejection of the traditional artistic forms and values prevalent during the heyday of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Sensual and fresh as well as natural and deeply emotional, its highly decorative modernist imprint is still very much alive in the architecture of Vienna today. As the President of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was perhaps the pivotal figure in the movement and the paintings and the paintings featured in this Series are the most iconic).

  Painted in 1889, the long-haired beauty holding a mirror shows artistic truth without compromise and is a perfect example of Klimt’s artistic vision. This was a vision that led to the painter to co-found the “Vienna Secession, the artistic movement that rejected the conservatism of the early 20th century Viennese Art world.

This being the third coin in the Series, the third letter in the spelling of Klimt’s name i.e. the letter “I” features towards the left hand bottom to mark the start of the Series.

These coins are minted in Proof quality, with a maximum mintage of 30,000.

2015 “Coin Of The Year” (COTY) Awards:

Every year, since 1984, Krause Publications holds a competition for “Coin of the Year” Awards in which there are 10 sub-categories (Best Gold Coin, Best Bimetallic Coin, Most Artistic Coin, Most historically significant coin, Best Contemporary Event Coin, Best Silver Coin, Most Innovative Coin, Most Inspirational Coin, Best Crown, Best Circulating Coin) apart from the overall Coin of the Year (COTY).

The coins nominated for the Competition should have elegant and diverse styles, themes and technology used by mints from across the Globe.

This year coins issued in 2013 or the year’s equivalent in other calendars were eligible to be nominated for the competition.

The recently concluded Competition saw 94 elegant coins being nominated from 45 different countries which were all issued in 2013. Out of the ten categories, Austrian Mint coins won best coin in three categories - Most Artistic Coin Category (Austrian Mint – 2013 “Wildlife in Our Sights” Red Deer 100 Euro Gold Coin – KM No. 3225), Best Bimetallic Coin Category (Austria – 2013 Tunnelling – KM 321) Silver & Niobium 25 Euro Coin, and Best Gold Coin (Austria – 2013 “Klimt and His Women – The Expectation” 50 Euro Gold Coin – KM 3218).

The 50 Euro Gold coin “Klimt and his Women – The Expectation” (Standard Catalogue of World coins no. KM -3218) went on to win the overall winner category and be declared as the “2015 Coin Of The Year” (COTY), through an additional round of judging by an International panel of Judges in a voting round which concluded on 06.12.14.

An award trophy will be presented on 31.01.2015, at the World Money Fair to be held in Berlin, Germany by the Representatives of World Coin News, sponsor of the Award.
Posted on 18.02.2016:
 A 50 Euro Gold Coin on Medicine, (2015):

Painted between 1900 and 1907, to decorate the ceiling of the Assembly Hall of the University of Vienna, Klimt’s Faculty Paintings were the Viennese Master’s last public commission. Klimt’s critics believed that they broke cultural taboos, and pushed the boundaries of obscenity, but their sensual beauty could be seen on Medicine, the fourth coin in this Series.


 A photograph of Klimt's three portraits titled - Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence which caused a furore among Austria's academics, politicians and the intelligensia
Gustav Klimt was no stranger to controversy but the outrage caused by his Faculty Paintings was even debated in the Austrian Parliament and became a political issue.

The paintings were never actually used for their intended purpose as Klimt returned his Fee and refused to deliver his Artworks, which were eventually burnt by the Nazis at the end of World War II. 
 The final painting titled "Jurisprudence" which Klimt painted for the University of Vienna Commission, a detail from which has been taken on the Obverse of the fourth coin in this Series.


The Obverse of the 50 Euro Coin depicts a detail from Klimt's painting "Jurisprudence". The inscriptions read "Republik Osterreich" (meaning "The Republic of Austria") and the denomination of the Coin "50 Euro".
On the Coin’s Obverse is a  detail from Klimt’s painting titled “Jurisprudence”, in the form of Eumenides, the Greek deities of Vengeance is depicted. Stylised snakes accentuate Klimt’s customary swirling patterns of the Gorgon’s hair in the rectangular centre, while to the right stands the Goddess of Law. 

         A photograph of Klimt's painting titled "Medicine"
 A detail from the painting titled "Medicine" showing Hygiea, the daughter of the Greek of of Medicine
        The Reverse of the 50 Euro Gold Coin shows "Hygiea"

On the Reverse of the Coin is depicted a detail from  Medicine as Hygiea, the daughter of the Greek God of Medicine, with the Aesculapian snake wound around her arm and the “Cup of Lethe” in her hand . The letter “M”, the fourth letter in the name KLIMT, appears at the foot of this coin.

The specifications of this coin are:

Coin Quality: Proof; Face value: 50 Euro; Diameter: 22.00 mm; Metal Composition: Gold Au 986; Fine Weight: 10.00 gms; Total Weight: 10.14 gms. Date & Year of minting:15.04.2015; Mintage:30,000 pieces.  


Posted on 05.07.2016:


The last of the 50 Euro Gold coin of the “Klimt and his Women” Series is titled “The Kiss”:

The fifth and final Gold coin in the “Klimt and His Women” series is on Klimt’s internationally renowned painting titled “The Kiss”.

                 The painting titled : "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt

Painted in 1908-09, “The Kiss” is on permanent display at the Belvedere Palace and Museum in Vienna. It is one of the world’s most iconic paintings, open to many interpretations of love, happiness and hope, yet it is Klimt’s 1902 portrait of Emilie Floge which many experts often consider to be his best portrait of a woman, which forms the centre piece of this coin’s Obverse.

The artist himself was of the opinion that no painting could ever convey the charm of the real Emilie, who was the most important of the many women in Klimt’s life.

Many experts believe that the painting is about Klimt himself kissing Emilie Floge, his partner in real life. Naturally, this depiction is open to many interpretations. It does not appear to be a gentle embrace but rather a more aggressive assertion of male power over the woman. He is holding her head at a very precarious neck-breaking angle.

This very intimate and evocative portrayal was typical of Klimt, including the complex and intricate geometric patterns. Many of Klimt’s paintings were seen as scandalous and a bit of an affront to society. Nevertheless, “The Kiss” was well received and bought very soon after its introduction to the Art World. “The Kiss” still has the power to draw people from across the World to flock to see it.

 The Obverse of the 50 Euro Coin depicts a detail from Klimt's painting shows a portrait of Emilie Floge and Gustav Klimt.

On the Obverse of the 50 Euro Gold Coin is depicted Gustav Klimt in one of his many favourite painting smocks towards the right. The head and shoulder portrait of Emilie Floge is featured in the square frame. Also mentioned on this face is the name of the country of issue “REPUBLIK OSTERREICH” (meaning “Republic of Austria”) and the denomination of the coin “50 EURO” and the year of issue “2016”.

 The Reverse of the 50 Euro Coin depicts  Klimt's painting "The Kiss"

On the Reverse of the 50 Euro Gold Coin is depicted a close-up of the painting titled “The Kiss” along with the letter “T” thus completing the set of five coins which commencing from the letter “K” and continuing with the letters “L”, “I”, “M” and now “T” on coins issued since 2012, spell out his name “KLIMT”.
 





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