The "Feierstëppler". Mathias Gaasch, from Dudelange (Luxembourg) poses for Auguste Tremont's sketch. The story behind the creation of the reverse side the one Franc coin was revealed in an article in a back issue of the "Luxembourger Wort" (a local newspaper), dated 2nd March, 2002. Auguste Tremont, one of the greatest artists, and the most important sculptor in Luxembourg history of art, was born there on New Years Eve, 1892. At 17, the young man went to Paris, where he registered at the "Ecole National des arts decoratifs" (art school next to the Louvre), and subsequently at the "Ecole National des beaux-arts" (another major art school). However, WWI put an end to the academic career, and the artist had to return to his home-country. back to his homeland. After a short term in prison, he taught at the "Lycee de garçons" (a secondary school in Luxembourg), before he obtained a commission from the "Huttendirektion" (steel mill management), to record work scenes at the steel mill in factory in Düdelingen. Mathias Gaasch was a worker at the steel mill at the time. Tremont had noticed Mathias Gaasch’s powerful build – mainly due to the hard daily physical work – and asked to have that worker pose for a painting. His granddaughter said in an interview to a local radio station (DNR) that the management had authorized the sessions and that her grandfather (died in 1939) had considered it an honour to pose for Auguste Tremont. Tremont’s sketch was later embossed on tens of thousands of one Franc coins. According to René Link of the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg, the first of these “Feierstëppler” (steel worker) coins entered circulation in 1924 and were withdrawn on 31st December 1991. The original engraving was done by the Belgian artist Armand Bonnetain (1888-1973). Today, most Luxembourgers only remember the term "Feierstëppler", the identity of the man who modelled for the artist remains largely forgotten. A middle of the road family tale, but certainly of some interest to the coin collector. (Luxemburger Wort, March 2nd 2002 (ph) und March 2007) translation by guy dentzer
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Mathias GAASCH the “Feierstëppler”