The ten-franc coin: one of Georges Mathieu’s most famous works

Painter Georges Mathieu was the creator of the ten-franc coin, several posters designed for the French national carrier Air France, a logo for Antenne 2, postage stamps, furniture, tapestry and jewellery. He was very famous in his time and was considered the official painter of France because he designed the coin as a symbol of the country.

A major artist of the lyrical abstraction movement!

Georges Mathieu was born in 1921 in Boulogne-sur-Mer and died in Boulogne-Billancourt in 2012. From 1947 onwards, he initiated a series of demonstrations in favour of an art movement that was free of all constraints and classical habits and focused on movement, gesture and emotion in painting, which he called lyrical abstraction. He also introduced the French to the artistic work of Jackson Pollock and was the originator of happening which was a spontaneous and collective art form that emerged from the Dadaist and Surrealist movements in the New York neighbourhoods. In the 1970s he also became a graphic artist, designer and architect. Andr√© Malraux described Georges Mathieu as a “Western calligrapher. You can by the way read Georges Mathieu’s biography by following this link.¬†

Exhibitions in major museums around the world!

In 1975, Georges Mathieu became a member of the French Institute’s Academy of Fine Arts. Today, his paintings are exhibited in the most renowned museums in the world and many still remember him as the initiator of the ten-franc coin. Indeed, the engraving of the coin was based on a drawing by Georges Mathieu. More than 100 million of them were produced, making it one of the most famous French coins. When it was first issued, it surprised everyone with its size but also with its industrial lyrical design, which celebrated the French ‘Trente Glorieuses’ and was in sharp contrast to the coins that had been minted up to that point.

An unconventional painter!

In addition to the famous design of the ten-franc coin, Georges Mathieu is also the creator of several paintings known throughout the world. He was an unconventional painter who liked to go on television sets to create paintings. These moments when he painted in public were so precious for him that he said he appreciated them enormously. Ultimately, you can find the artist’s paintings in all the big galleries.