World Coins

Austrian Mint honors artist Gustav Klimt

The Austrian Mint’s final Proof gold €50 coin honoring Gustav Klimt celebrates what may be his most famous work, The Kiss. The Klimt series covers the five major phases of his artistic career.

Coin images courtesy of the Austrian Mint.

One of artist Gustav Klimt’s most famous works is being celebrated on a gold coin.

The Austrian Mint on April 13 announced plans to release the fifth and final gold €50 coin in the “Klimt and His Women” series. The 2016 coin honors the internationally renowned painting The Kiss, created during 1907 and 1908.

The obverse of the coin depicts Klimt at the right side, in one of his many favorite painting smocks, accented by intricate scroll and patterning that is a key element in the Jugendstil (Viennese Art Nouveau) world. 

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The head and shoulder portrait featured in the square frame at left is of Emilie Floge, with the masses of hair that she was well known for. Also on the obverse appear the country of issue, REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH for “Republic of Austria,” the face value of €50 and the year of issue, 2016. 

The Austrian Mint’s chief engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer, engraved the obverse.

The reverse of the coin was engraved by mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger and features a close up of the top portion of The Kiss along with many intricate geometric patterns as per the original masterpiece by Klimt. In the lower right area of the coin design is the letter “T,” completing the set of five coins, which spell out his name (each of the five coins bears a successive letter of his last name).

Floge was Klimt’s lifetime partner and soon became his favorite muse, appearing in many paintings. The most famous of these, The Kiss hangs in the Belvedere Palace Museum in Vienna.

Many experts believe that the painting is of Klimt kissing Emilie. The depiction is open to a lot of interpretation. To some it does not appear to be a gentle embrace but rather a more aggressive assertion of male power over the woman. He appears to be holding her head at a very precarious, neck-breaking, angle.

The 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. However, The Kiss was well received and was purchased very soon after its introduction to the art world.

Each coin in this gold collection includes a different painting of a woman, representing the five major phases of Klimt’s artistic career. 

The Proof 2016 .986 fine gold coin weighs 10.3 grams, measures 22 millimeters in diameter and has a maximum mintage of 30,000 pieces. Each coin is packed in a box with a numbered certificate of authenticity, which provides detailed background and technical information about the coin. 

A wooden collection case for the whole series, “Klimt and His Women,” may be purchased separately and is accompanied by a detailed information booklet.

Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase The Kiss coin by contacting the Austrian Mint at its website.

In addition, two dealers serve North American buyers: Downies and American Precious Metals Exchange.

To order from American Precious Metals Exchange, visit its website.

Downies may be contacted online

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