The Cook Islands, a sovereign state in free association with New Zealand, uses two official legal tender currencies. The New Zealand Dollar circulates in parallel with the local Cook Islands Dollar; at the same time, the government also authorises many legal tender coins in the Cook Islands Dollar currency for collector's purposes.
Collector coins are dedicated to historical or general popular culture themes not related to the country itself. Many of them are in standard bullion sizes, including the large two ounces of silver format - such as this coin.
This coin is the first in the Masters of Art series.
The Mint says about it:
The idea of this new series is to combine a famous painting with a portrait of its artist. This edition is dedicated to Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), considered one of the greatest painters of all time, a true Master of Art. His most creative and productive period began in February 1888, when the Dutch painter moved to Arles in the south of France, where he formed a working and living partnership with Paul Gauguin. During this time, he created many of his most famous works, especially landscape paintings, interiors and self-portraits. Among them is "Wheat Field with Cypresses" which was selected for this coin. Van Gogh finished this painting, with its vibrant colours and striking brushstrokes, in 1889 - which was only about a year before his tragic, self-inflicted death.
“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” (Vincent van Gogh)
The original painting with a height of 73 cm and width of 93.4 cm can be admired in full colour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The painting has resided there since 1993. On this ultra-high relief 2 oz proof, the artist himself poses in front of his masterpiece. Thanks to the enhanced smartminting technology, this is done in a very realistic way. The obverse shows a painter working on his next masterpiece. The effigy is cleverly used as the painting he is working on.