The Bank of Latvia has issued (August 9) an innovative coin that pays tribute to traditional Latvian artisans active in the porcelain industry. The coin is dedicated to Baltars, a workshop responsible for fine china and faience painting that is considered the pride of Latvian national culture.
Incorporating techniques of traditional porcelain painting, the original design entitled “Dance” was created by Romans Suta (1896 – 1944), considered a virtuoso in the field of traditional Latvian painted artistry. The impressive achievements of the Baltars workshop are among the greatest art treasures in the Cultural Catalogue of Latvia, where fine china was artistically painted in the 1920’s and during the high-point of Latvia’s first period of independence.
Baltars resulted from an idea conceived by Suta, then a painter of distinction, that artists could create a cultural milieu corresponding to the era of modernism and its language of form. The workshop was established in the city of Riga on February 1, 1925. It also included Suta’s wife, the painter Aleksandra Beļcova (1892–1981), the genius of Latvian graphic art Sigismunds Vidbergs (1890–1970), and, occasionally, the painters Erasts Šveics (1895–1992) and Lūcija Kuršinska (1894–1976). Their work was quickly recognized internationally for their craftsmanship and artistic merit, and they went on to earn three medals at the International Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris.
Suta mostly focused on interior design and applied arts, in which decorative ceramics was supposed to work as an atypical accent of functionalist and constructivist aesthetics and ideology. Unfortunately, the masterpieces that Baltars produced were only created until 1930, when the shop closed its doors. These quality items were recognized as high achievements during the Art Deco period and continue to be a point of pride in Latvian culture.
The coin, which is minted by the Mint of Lithuania on behalf of the Bank of Latvia, cleverly combines a depiction of the works of Baltars with the shape and detail of an actual porcelain plate. The “Dance” design is reprised in miniature on the obverse side of the coin. Vivid colors and lines render dancing figures in a distinctive style that is resplendent on a field of bright white, reminiscent of fine porcelain.
The reverse also skillfully recreates the back of a plate and includes the coin’s issuing authority, the denomination, and year of issue, 2016. The coin is the work of Latvian artist Frančeska Kirke, whose previous work for the Bank of Latvia also includes the commemorative 1 lats coin featuring a horseshoe and the collector coin, “Basketball.”
|€5||.925 Silver||18 Grams||38.6 mm.||Proof & Colour||5000 pieces|
The coin is available directly from the Bank of Latvia by visiting their cashier’s office in Riga. Reservations can also be initiated at rezervetmonetu.bank.lv for Latvian residents. Collector coins issued by the Bank of Latvia and other numismatic products are also available online from the JSC “Latvijas Pasts” or Latvian Post.