Richard Martin Werner

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRichard Martin•Werner
Used nameRichard Martin•Werner
Born21 January 1903 in Offenbach am Main, Hessen (GER)
Died2 October 1949 in Oberursel, Hessen (GER)
NOC Germany


German sculptor and medalist Richard Martin Werner created the reverse of the West German “50 Pfenning” coin, which showed his wife Gerda Johanna “Jo” Werner while planting a tree. Jo herself was a painter and art teacher. The symbolic power of the design honored the rubble women and female forest workers, who rebuilt the cities and forests destroyed by men after World War II. Richard Martin Werner died shortly after the first coins with the image of his wife were minted. Overall, more than 2 billion pieces were coined between 1949 and 2002. The coin was considered the most popular among former German Marks (DM) coins. It was also the only coin of the Federal Republic of Germany with a woman on the back side.

Werner studied in Frankfurt am Main at the Städel School and the Municipal School for Applied Arts under Richard Scheibe, amongst others. Werner produced several standing female nudes as well as portraits in bronze, marble or stone. He produced numerous female nudes in simple large forms as well as portraits. After World War II, he joined the Darmstadt Secession and taught sculpture at a vocational school.

His much smaller than life-sized bronze sculpture Läuferin am Start (Female runner starting) received an Honorable Mention at the 1936 Art Competitions in Berlin within the category Sculpturing, Statues. The work came to Frankfurt in 1938 and stood in front of today’s Commerzbank Arena on a granite pedestal since then. Track and field athlete Emmi Haux (1904-?) is said to have been the model for the sculpture. In the 1920s, Haux was multiple German champion in various athletics disciplines and in 1930 participated in the Women’s World Games.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Art Competitions GER Richard Martin Werner
Sculpturing, Statues, Open (Olympic) HM