The Austrian Mint has launched a new gold coin collector series entitled “Austria’s Unsung Heroines,” which focuses on the many contributions of Austrian women in the disciplines of art and science. The series explores what it meant to be a creative and talented woman in Austria during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The series also focuses on the obstacles they had to overcome, as well as highlighting the successes of the five women featured in their respective different fields of occupation. One hundred years ago, studying at university was the exception rather than the rule for women, and despite excelling in scholarly endeavours, employment wasn’t always guaranteed, as it was perceived women should endeavour to become good wives and mothers rather than work outside the home. The first coin honours the painter Tina Blau (1845–1916), who was the only Jewish woman artist of her generation to be recognised by her peers. Born as Regina Leopoldine Blau in Vienna on the 15th November 1845, she was encouraged by her family to pursue her dreams, especially her father. However, she had been told by him that if she wished to pursue being an artist, she would first have to learn to overcome insurmountable problems. It was he who Blau partly credited her successful career to, a physician originally from Prague, who it was said lived out his own artistic dreams vicariously through his daughter. As with other women artists of her generation, Blau was denied an art education and had to take private lessons. However, she eventually made her artistic debut in 1867 when her paintings were included in the 1873 Viennese World Exhibition. Blau travelled to Munich to pursue her studies, then to Italy, the Netherlands, and France, spending the summers of 1873 and 1874 in the Hungarian artist colony at Szolnok. Returning to Vienna in 1875, she would rise to international fame with shows in Vienna in 1882 and Paris in 1883, as her works were praised for her modern and innovative uses of light and colour. In 1883 Blau returned to Munich, where she taught at the Women Artists’ Association. That same year, and after converting to Protestantism, she married the painter Heinrich Lang (1838-1891). After his death in 1891, she resettled in Vienna, though, at that time, Blau was already a well-recognised artist, having received several state decorations and awards. Blau’s work is most recognised for representing her own innovative place in terms of Austrian landscape paintings during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Her style was in the so-called Austrian Stimmungsimpressionismus or atmospheric Impressionism. Her style was most assuredly influenced by Dutch landscape painting and by the Barbizon School art movement, whose works she had first seen at the Munich exhibition in 1869. Blau died on the 31st October 1916 and was accorded an honorary grave in the Zentralfriedhof Cemetery in Vienna.
The coin is designed by Austrian Mint artisans Helmut Andexlinger and Catherine Kuntn and the obverse features a likeness of Tina Blau inspired by a photograph taken during her youth. A broad brushstroke dominates the background of the coin. In a vertical direction, the text REPUBLIK OSTERREICH is placed to the left of the portrait with the denomination 50 EURO 2023 shown below. The name TINA BLAU is also shown in a vertical direction and positioned to the right of her portrait. Decorated with trees and flowers, the right-hand side of the coin’s reverse focuses on the landscape painting for which Tina Blau became famous. The portraits of two women depicted on the left represent Blau having taught at the Vienna Women’s Academy.
|7.89 g||22 mm||Proof||
Available from the 15th February, each Proof-quality silver coin is encapsulated and presented in a heavy-gauge card case complete with a numbered certificate of authenticity and protective slipcase.
Austria’s “Unsung Heroines” collector case: Made of solid Austrian oak, the collector coin tower is packaged in a dark-red protective box. The tower is divided into five separate discs, each with a recess that houses and protects each of the five encapsulated coins in Austria’s “Unsung Heroines” series. The discs can be fanned out so each coin can be easily viewed at the same time.
The series, when completed, will include the following:
2023: Tina Blau — Painter
2024: Veza Canetti — Author
2025: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky — Architect
2026: Hilde Loewe-Flatter — Musician
2027: Lise Meitner — Scientist
For additional information, please visit the website of the Austrian Mint.