Mäda Primavesi’s expression and posture convey a remarkable degree of confidence for a nine-year-old girl, even one who was, by her own account, willful and a tomboy. Klimt made numerous preliminary sketches for this portrait, experimenting with different poses, outfits, and backgrounds before deciding to show Mäda standing tall in a specially-made dress amid a profusion of springlike patterns. The picture testifies to the sophisticated taste of her parents, banker and industrialist Otto Primavesi and his wife Eugenia, who were ardent supporters of progressive Viennese art and design. In fact, Klimt soon painted Eugenia’s portrait (Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan).
Inscription: Signed (lower right): GVSTAV / KLIMT
Mr. and Mrs. Otto Primavesi, Olmütz and Vienna (1913–his d. 1926); Mrs. Otto (Eugenia Butschek) Primavesi, Vienna (from 1926); Hugo Bernatzik, Vienna (in 1928; sold or consigned to Neue Galerie); [Neue Galerie, Vienna, from 1928; sold to Steiner]; Jenny Pulitzer Steiner, Zedlitzgasse, Vienna and New York (by 1937–d. 1958; seized by the Nazis; inv., 1938, as Mädchenbild; by 1941 in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien; restituted to Mrs. Steiner in 1951); her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. André Mertens, Westport, Conn. and New York (1958–63); Mrs. André (Clara Steiner) Mertens, Westport, Conn. and New York (1963–64)
Berlin. location unknown. "Bundes österreichischer Künstler," 1916, without number [one of three works exhibited].
Stockholm. Liljevalchs Konsthall. "Österrikiska Konstutställningen," September 1917, no. 97 (as "Porträtt av en ung flicka").
Vienna. Secession. "Klimt-Gedächtnis-Ausstellung," June 27–July 31, 1928, no. 63 (as "Kinderbildnis," for sale).
Paris. Musée du Jeu de Paume. "Exposition d'art autrichien," May–June 1937, no. 361 (as "Mlle Primavesi," lent by Mme J. Steiner, Vienna).
Kunsthalle Bern. "Oesterreichische Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert," August 20–September 19, 1937, no. 5 (as "Bildnis der kleinen Primavesi," lent by Frau Jenny Steiner, Vienna).
Vienna. Ausstellungshaus Friedrichstrasse. "Gustav Klimt Ausstellung," February 7–March 7, 1943, no. 50 (lent by Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien).
Vienna. Künstlerhaus. "Die Wienerin 1750–1910 eingerichtet vom Historischen Museum der Stadt Wien," October 1949–January 1950, no. 184 (as Mäda Primavesi, 1913).
Vienna. Secession. "Wiener Secession 1900–1950," 1950, no. 10 (in the Josef-Hoffmann-Saal, lent by the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien).
New York. Galerie St. Etienne. "Gustav Klimt," April 1959, unnumbered cat. (as Portrait of Maeda Primavesi, the list of lenders including Mr. and Mrs. Andre Mertens, New York).
New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele," February–April 1965, no. 15 (as Mäda Primavesi, 1912, lent by Mrs. André Mertens, Westport, Connecticut).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "New York Collects," July 3–September 2, 1968, no. 86 (as Mäda Primavesi, lent by Mrs. André Mertens).
New York. Galerie St. Etienne. "Gustav Klimt · Egon Schiele," November 11–December 27, 1980, no. 30 (as Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, ca. 1912, private collection).
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Gustav Klimt, 1862–1918," September 11–December 13, 1992, no. G49 (as Bildnis Mäda Primavesi, ca. 1912).
Vienna. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere. "Klimt und die Frauen," September 20, 2000–January 7, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 126, as Mäda Primavesi, ca. 1912).
Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making," June 15–September 16, 2001, no. 30 (as Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1913).
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Klimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka: Vienne 1900," October 3, 2005–January 23, 2006, unnumbered cat. (p. 239).
Neue Galerie New York. "Gustav Klimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900-1918," September 22, 2016–January 16, 2017, not in checklist (pp. 136–37 in catalogue).
Gustav Klimt. Letter to Otto Primavesi.  [published in English in Ref. Klein-Primavesi 2006, p. 31], acknowledges the payment of 15,000 crowns for this picture and the portrait of Mrs. Mäda Eugenia Primavesi (Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japan).
Franz Servaes. "Wiener Kunstschau in Berlin." Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration 38 (April 1916), pp. 46, 50, 60, ill., as "Mädchenbildnis".
Max Eisler. Gustav Klimt. Vienna, 1920, p. 45, colorpl. 29, as in the collection of Otto Primavesi, Vienna.
Max Eisler. Gustav Klimt. Vienna, 1921, p. 48, colorpl. 29, as in the collection of Mr. Nebehay, Vienna.
Franz Ottmann. "Die Gustav Klimt-Gedächtnisausstellung." Die Kunst für Alle 44 (1928–29), ill. p. 4.
Bruno Grimschitz. Maler der Ostmark im 19. Jahrhundert. Vienna, 1940, p. 26, pl. 88, as signed and dated [sic] 1906, in a private collection, Vienna.
Emil Pirchan. Gustav Klimt: Ein Künstler aus Wien. Vienna, 1942, colorpl. 6, as "Mäda", 1913, in the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien.
Emil Pirchan. Gustav Klimt. Vienna, 1956, pp. 43, 56, colorpl. after fig. 140, as in the collection of M. Primavesi, Vienna.
Fritz Novotny and Johannes Dobai. Gustav Klimt, With a Catalogue Raisonné of His Paintings. German ed. 1967. New York, 1968, pp. 355–56, 360, no. 179, ill. p. 355 and pl. 78, as "Mäda Primavesi", in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. André Mertens; date it about 1912, a little earlier than the portrait of her mother.
Alfred Werner. "Gustav Klimt: Father of Austria's Art Nouveau." American Artist 32 (April 1968), ill. p. 50, as painted in 1912.
Hedwig Steiner. "Gustav Klimts Bindung an Familie Primavesi in Olmütz." Mährisch Schlesische Heimat 4 (December 1968), pp. 242–44, observes that the portrait, assigned to 1912, is earlier than the portrait of her mother, of about 1913–14; publishes Klimt letters to the Primavesis together with other documents, including a letter from June 28, 1913, in which Klimt acknowledges receipt of a partial payment of 15,000 Kronen for the portraits of Mäda and her mother.
Alice Strobl. Gustav Klimt Egon Schiele. Exh. cat., Graphische Sammlung Albertina. Vienna, 1968, pp. 18, 45.
Christian M. Nebehay. Gustav Klimt: Sein Leben nach zeitgenössischen Berichten und Quellen. Munich, 1969, p. 306, fig. 40 (detail).
Christian M. Nebehay, ed. Gustav Klimt: Dokumentation. Vienna, 1969, pp. 456, 467, 508, fig. 595, pl. 2 (detail).
Werner Hofmann. Gustav Klimt. Greenwich, Conn., 1971, p. 60, no. 53, pl. 53.
Peter Vergo. Art in Vienna 1898–1918. London, 1975, pp. 225–26, pl. 193.
Alessandra Comini. Gustav Klimt. New York, 1975, pp. 17, 30, no. 11, colorpl. 11, notes that the loose surface fill of blossoms, birds, animals, and figures derived in part from Klimt's study of Japanese art, and observes that in some of the studies the orthagonals coincide with the sitter's groin, an effect muted in the painting.
Sergio Coradeschi inL'opera completa di Klimt. Milan, 1978, pp. 107–8, no. 165, ill. p. 106 and colorpl. 49, as "Eugenia [sic] (Mäda) Primavesi".
Jane Kallir inGustav Klimt · Egon Schiele. Exh. cat., Galerie St. Etienne. New York, 1980, pp. 26, 91, no. 30, colorpl. 30.
Daniele Baroni and Antonio D'Auria. Josef Hoffmann e la Wiener Werkstätte. Milan, 1981, p. 144, fig. 357, shows the portrait installed in the Rome exhibition of 1914 [in the caption, misdated 1911].
Serge Sabarsky. Gustav Klimt. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1981, unpaginated, fig. i.
Alice Strobl. Gustav Klimt: Die Zeichnungen. Vol. 2, 1904–1912. Salzburg, 1982, pp. 273–74, 280, ill., as begun, together with the portrait of her mother, in 1912, and finished first, at Christmas 1913.
Sergio Coradeschi inTout l'oeuvre peint de Klimt. Paris, 1983, p. 107, no. 165, colorpl. 49.
Eduard F. Sekler. Josef Hoffmann, the Architectural Work: Monograph and Catalogue of Works. Princeton, 1985, p. 127.
Angelica Bäumer. Gustav Klimt: Women. London, 1986, p. 116, colorpl. 44.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, pp. 90–91, colorpl. 68.
Christian M. Nebehay. Gustav Klimt: Das Skizzenbuch aus dem Besitz von Sonja Knips. Vienna, 1987, pp. 14, 16–17, fig. 8, reports that the ten compositional sketches for Mäda's portrait formerly in the Flöge collection burned in the fire that destroyed her house in 1945.
Wolfgang Georg Fischer with the assistance of Dorothea McEwan. Gustav Klimt und Emilie Flöge. Vienna, 1987, pp. 169, 182, 194, publish—among other cards relating to the Primavesis—a postcard of June 26, 1912, to Emilie Flöge in Bad Gastein, in which Klimt notes that "Frau M," pleased with her daughter's portrait, has left until autumn.
Ilona Sármány-Parsons. Gustav Klimt. New York, 1987, ill. p. 71 (color).
John L. Tancock. "Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Eugenia (Mäda) Primavesi." Sotheby's Preview 72 (May–June 1987), pp. 4–5, ill. (color).
Alice Strobl. Gustav Klimt: Die Zeichnungen. Vol. 4, Nachtrag: 1878–1918. Salzburg, 1989, p. 174.
Jane Kallir. Gustav Klimt: 25 Masterworks. Exh. cat., Galerie St. Etienne. New York, 1989, p. 50, colorpl. 20, dates it about 1912–13.
Gottfried Fliedl. Gustav Klimt 1862–1918: Die Welt in weiblicher Gestalt. Cologne, 1989, ill. p. 220 (color).
Susanna Partsch. Klimt: Life and Work. London, 1989, ill. pp. 225–26 (color, overall and detail).
Frank Whitford. Klimt. London, 1990, pp. 197–98, pl. 156, as completed in 1913.
Serge Sabarsky. Gustav Klimt. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi. Florence, 1991, pp. 122, 126, ill.
Michel de Grèce. Portrait et séduction. [Paris], 1992, p. 52, ill. (color).
Christian Brandstätter inGustav Klimt. Ed. Toni Stooss and Christoph Doswald. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich. Stuttgart, 1992, p. 331, states that Mäda's father commissioned her portrait and that of his wife in 1912 and that Mäda's was completed at Christmas 1913.
Gerbert Frodl. Klimt. London, 1992, p. 154, no. 21, ill.
Christian M. Nebehay. Gustav Klimt: Von der Zeichnung zum Bild. Vienna, 1992, p. 145, colorpl. 170, dates it 1913.
Edith Krebs inGustav Klimt. Ed. Toni Stooss and Christoph Doswald. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich. Stuttgart, 1992, pp. 168–69, no. G49, ill. (color), dates it about 1912, noting its completion at Christmas 1913.
Gilles Néret. Gustav Klimt 1862–1918. Cologne, 1992, pp. 66–67, ill. (color).
Christian M. Nebehay. Gustav Klimt: From Drawing to Painting. New York, 1994, p. 145, colorpl. 170.
Christian Brandstätter. Klimt & la mode. Paris, 1998, ill. p. 55 (color).
Tobias G. Natter inKlimt's Women. Ed. Tobias G. Natter and Gerbert Frodl. Exh. cat., Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna. Cologne, 2000, pp. 126–28, 130–31, ill. (color).
Marian Bisanz-Prakken in "Studies for the Portrait Paintings." Klimt's Women. Ed. Tobias G. Natter and Gerbert Frodl. Exh. cat., Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna. Cologne, 2000, pp. 203–4.
John Collins inGustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New York, 2001, pp. 128–29, 131, 207, no. 30, ill. (color), dates it 1913.
Colin B. Bailey in "Prolegomena: A Klimt for the Twenty-first Century." Gustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New York, 2001, p. 14.
Tatjana Pauli, ed. Gustav Klimt. New York, 2001, unpaginated, ill. (color).
Tobias G. Natter. Die Welt von Klimt, Schiele und Kokoschka: Sammler und Mäzene. Cologne, 2003, pp. 74, 77, 79, 81, 85–86, 137, ill. p. 78 (color).
Sophie Lillie. Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens. Vienna, 2003, pp. 1246, 1250.
Claudia Klein-Primavesi. Die Familie Primavesi und die Künstler Hanak, Hoffmann, Klimt: 100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte. Vienna, 2004, pp. 15, 171, 206–7, 212, 220, 245, ill. (color), describes the sittings for this portrait in Klimt's studio.
Sylvie Aigner inKlimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka: Vienne 1900. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 2005, pp. 238, 352, ill. pp. 44, 239 (color, detail and overall), states that it was the first portrait commissioned from Klimt by the Primavesi family, and was executed at the same time as his portrait of Mäda's mother, Eugenia (1913–14; Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota).
Claudia Klein-Primavesi. Die Familie Primavesi und die Künstler der Wiener Werkstätte: Das Ende einer Ära. Vienna, 2005, pp. 17, 137, ill. p. 141 (color).
Katharine Baetjer. "About Mäda." Metropolitan Museum Journal 40 (2005), pp. 131–50, colorpl. 16, 17, figs. 3, 4 (overall, detail, and installation photograph with sitter), discusses the history of the painting's creation and the family for which it was made.
Claudia Klein-Primavesi. The Primavesi Family and the Wiener Werkstätte: Josef Hoffman and Gustav Klimt as Friends and Artists. Vienna, , pp. 26, 31–33, ill. on cover (color).
Jane Kallir inThe Women of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka. Exh. cat., Belvedere. Vienna, 2015, pp. 107–8, fig. 8 (color), mentions the portrait as Klimt's only commissioned painting of a child; reproduces two sketches that Klimt made for the portrait (Albertina, Vienna; Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Graphic Collection).
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 520, no. 430, ill. pp. 464, 520 (color).