Mäda Primavesi (1903–2000)

Artist: Gustav Klimt (Austrian, Baumgarten 1862–1918 Vienna)

Date: 1912–13

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 59 x 43 1/2 in. (149.9 x 110.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of André and Clara Mertens, in memory of her mother, Jenny Pulitzer Steiner, 1964

Accession Number: 64.148


Mäda Primavesi was, by her own account, an independent, assertive young girl, qualities amply captured in this portrait of her at about nine years old. Klimt made numerous preliminary sketches for the picture, experimenting with different poses and background motifs before he arrived at the present composition, with Mäda boldly silhouetted against a field of decorative patterns. The image 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).