The Austrian Mint will issue (15th April) the fourth gold coin of the commemorative series “Klimt and His Women”, featuring the lost paintings entitled “Faculty Paintings.” These paintings were the last public commission by this Viennese master. Klimt was no stranger to controversy but this series of paintings caused such an outcry by Austrians at the time, that the politicians even debated these paintings in national parliament. Many viewed the paintings to be too explicit.
Painted between 1900 and 1907 to decorate the ceiling of the assembly hall of the University of Vienna, these works of art were spoken of by all kinds critics of Klimt who believed they broke cultural taboos and pushed the boundaries of obscenity. The critics included the public, the university, art critics, and politicians. Originally he was commissioned to paint the three subjects of Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence in an allegorical style. However, he submitted renderings for approval that were not historically conservative but rather, very thought provoking. 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 the equivalent of $500,000 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 obverse of the coin, created by the Mint’s chief engraver, Thomas Pesendorfer shows a detail from Klimt’s painting “Jurisprudence”, in the form of the Eumenides. Stylized snakes accentuate Klimt’s customary swirling patterns of the gorgon’s hair in the center, which is highlighted in a square, echoing the frame of the painting. Geometric patterns, which almost seem like floating bubbles, link the two design areas of the obverse. To the right stands Justitia, the frequently used symbol of jurisprudence. Also on the obverse appear the country of issue, “Republik Oesterreich” (Republic of Austria) and the face value of 50 euros together with the year of issue, 2015.
The reverse, created by Mint engraver Herbert Waehner 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. The many geometric details that fascinated Klimt are once again noted in the background of this design. The fourth letter, the letter “M” in the word “Klimt”, appears in the lower portion of the reverse.
|50 EURO||.986 gold||10.14 grams||22 mm.||Proof||30,000 pieces|
Each of the coins in this gold collection includes a different painting of a woman representing the five major phases of Klimt’s artistic career. Each coin also depicts a letter in his last name: K, L, I, M, and T. Once complete, the coins of the series will spell the word ‘KLIMT’.
Each coin is packed in an attractive box with a numbered certificate of authenticity, which is six pages in length and provides detailed background and technical information about the coin. A beautiful wooden collection case for the whole series, “Klimt and his Women”, may be purchased separately and is accompanied by a detailed information booklet.
For more information on this and other coins offered by the Austrian Mint, please visit their website at: http://www.muenzeoesterreich.at/eng/produkte/medicine Information offered in German and English, international orders dispatched.