header Notes Collection

50 Franken 1940, Switzerland

in Krause book Number: 34k
Years of issue: 15.02.1940
Edition: Serie: 9R-10A 1000000
Signatures: Der Präsident des Bankrates: Prof. Dr. Gottlieb Bachmann (1939 - 1947), Der Hauptkassier: Herr Erich Blumer (1936 - 1954), Ein Mitglied des Direktoriums: Herr Fritz Schnorf (1937 - 1955)
Serie: Second Series
Specimen of: 01.04.1924
Material: 100% raw cotton
Size (mm): 165 х 106
Printer: Waterlow and Sons Limited, London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

50 Franken 1940




50 Franken 1940

On the left side is a medallion with a picture of Jeanne Cerani Charles Ćišić.

Jeanne Cerani

She was the favorite Hodler's model, originally from Sarajevo.

Was originally married to composer Cerani, then the Bosnian diplomat Mehmed Ćišić, a native of Mostar in Bosnia. She owned more than 100 paintings by Ferdinand Hodler, created in Sarajevo.

Jeanne Cerani

Original study of Jeanne Cerani Charles Ćišić for the medallion of the 50-Franken banknote made by pencil and ink on paper. Size: 19 × 5 cm. Was sold at Sotheby's in Zurich at December 7, 2009, for the 7000 - 9000 Swiss francs.

Centered, on the background, on the right and left sides of denomination in numeral are the silver crosses as Swiss emblem. The cross reminds us that Switzerland's sovereignty is inviolable. For many centuries, the logo has remained virtually unchanged.

Denominations in numerals are in three corners and centered on background, in numeral and in words centered, on the foreground.


50 Franken 1940

Der Holzfäller

"Der Holzfäller" [The Woodcutter], Oil on canvas, 1910.

In April 1908, the Banque Nationale Suisse commissioned Ferdinand Hodler to illustrate the new 50 and 100 franc banknotes, which were to take the subject of rural labour. For the 50 franc note, the artist chose the theme of the woodcutter. When these were issued however, Hodler was disappointed by the effect the reduction in scale had had in depriving the figure of its dynamic impact. Besides this, realistic ornamentations tended to distort the ghostly landscape of the painting which had been designed to match the expressionism of the figure.

Fortunately, the disappointing reproduction was not the final chapter in The Woodcutter's story. In 1910, Hodler exhibited an enlarged version of the original which met with immediate success and he was commissioned to make copies of the picture. The version acquired by the Musée d'Orsay is striking by its arresting power, a power which is only accentuated by its being a not quite finished sketch.

The composition rests on the contrast between the verticals of the tree trunks and the diagonal of the man's body. The woodcutter is captured in the full energy of movement, encapsulating the tension of the frozen moment. Holder's transformation of the peasant into an heroic figure, immortalized in the midst of his labour, had only previously been achieved by Millet. The pale background and exaggeratedly low skyline magnify the almost superhuman figure of the woodcutter. He stands out against the sky; a relief augmented by the strange blue-grey oval of a cloud.

This great figure by Hodler - bridging symbolism and expressionism - is representative of the artist's later style.

Denominations in numerals are in all corners.


Graphic artist: Ferdinand Hodler.

Ferdinand Hodler (March 14, 1853, Berne - May 19, 1918, Geneva) was one of the best-known Swiss painters of the nineteenth century. His early works were portraits, landscapes, and genre paintings in a realistic style. Later, he adopted a personal form of symbolism he called Parallelism.

These notes, which were first issued between 1911 and 1914, were replaced in 1956-57. This represents an extraordinarily long life-span. The 5-franc note was intended to replace the silver 5-franc coin, which was stockpiled during times of war or serious crisis and thus effectively removed from payment transactions. Of all the National SNB's denominations, this note was in circulation for the longest period of time and was only recalled in 1980.