The fourth coin in an annual series featuring paintings by Gustav
Klimt is scheduled for release April 15, according to the Austrian Mint.
The 2015 coin from its Klimt and His Women series will feature the
lost paintings that are grouped under the broad title “Faculty
Paintings,” the last public commission by this Viennese master.
On its obverse, the Proof .986 fine gold €50 coin features detail
from Klimt’s painting Jurisprudence, in the form of Greek
deities, the Eumenides. Stylized snakes accentuate Klimt’s customary
swirling patterns of the goddesses’ hair in the coin’s center, which
is highlighted in a square, echoing the frame of the painting. To the
right stands Justitia, the frequently used symbol of jurisprudence.
The Austrian Mint’s chief engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer, engraved the obverse.
The reverse shows a detail from Medicine. The Aesculapian
snake winds around the arm of Hygieia, daughter of the Greek god of
medicine. In Hygieia’s left hand is the cup of Lethe. Each of the five
different coin designs in the series also carries a letter of his last
name — K, L, I, M, and T — on the reverse, with this fourth coin
showing the fourth letter, M.
Mint engraver Herbert Waehner engraved the reverse.
Many critics believe Klimt broke cultural taboos and pushed the
boundaries of obscenity with these works, painted between 1900 and
1907 to decorate the ceiling of the assembly hall of the University of Vienna.
Originally, Klimt was commissioned to paint the three subjects of
Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence in an allegorical style. He was
asked to rework his paintings several times, which he refused to do.
Instead, with the help of his wealthy patrons, he returned the
commission fee (which would be some $500,000 U.S. today) and the
paintings disappeared into private hands. In 1943 the paintings were
publicly exhibited one last time and then hidden in Immendorf Castle
for safety during the war, along with many other Klimt paintings. The
paintings were destroyed in May 1945 in a fire set by retreating
German SS troops.
Each coin in the gold series features a different painting of a
woman or women, representing the five major phases of Klimt’s artistic career.
The 2015 Klimt coin weighs 10.15 grams, measures 22 millimeters in
diameter and has a maximum mintage of 30,000 pieces.
Each coin is packed in an box with a numbered certificate of
authenticity that provides detailed background and technical
information about the coin.
A wooden collection case for the whole series may be purchased separately.
The last coin of the series in 2016 will feature The Kiss.
Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the 2015
coin for €450 through the Austrian Mint website, or
through one of three dealers, at prices to be established by each firm:
The coin is available from American Precious Metals Exchange.
Downies offers the coin through its website.
Modern Coin Mart also
offers the coin.
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