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).
This painting was seized by the Nazis from Jenny Pulitzer Steiner in 1938 in Vienna and restituted to her in 1951.
Credit Line:Gift of André and Clara Mertens, in memory of her mother, Jenny Pulitzer Steiner, 1964
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. Osterreichische 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).
LOAN OF THIS WORK IS RESTRICTED.
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. "Dagobert Peche." Die Kunst 34 (September 1916), ill. p. 405 (installation shot of Rome 1914), miscaptioned as in a photograph of a 1912 exhibition in Rome.
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.
Johannes Dobai. "Das Frühwerk Gustav Klimts." PhD diss., Universität Wien, 1958, catalogue section, pp. 148–49, 151, under no. 169, p. 226, no. 166, calls it "Mäda Primavesi (Mäda, Mädchenbildnis)" and dates it 1913; notes that this portrait is sometimes confused with that of the sitter's mother; lists drawing studies for the painting; notes that the literature often misstates the picture's dimensions and therefore The Met's portrait may be the same as "Stehendes Mädchen" (Standing Girl), which was included in an auction at the Dorotheum in 1941 (no. 35).
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.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 240, ill. p. 241.
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., Osterreichische 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., Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna. Cologne, 2000, pp. 203–4.
John Collins inGustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making. Ed. Colin B. Bailey. 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. Ed. Colin B. Bailey. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New York, 2001, p. 14.
Tatjana Pauli, ed. Gustav Klimt. New York, 2001, unpaginated, ill. (color).
Emily Braun inGustav Klimt: Modernism in the Making. Ed. Colin B. Bailey. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New York, 2001, p. 53, fig. 37 (installation shot in Rome 1914).
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.
Sophie Lillie. "The Jenny Steiner Collection: A Case Study in Private Collecting in Pre-1938 Vienna." Vitalizing Memory: International Perspectives on Provenance Research. Washington, 2005, p. 90, states that the Historical Museum of Vienna acquired it at the Dorotheum in 1941.
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).
Tobias G. Natter inKlimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900–1918. Ed. Tobias G. Natter. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie. New York, 2016, pp. 41, 136, ill. p. 137 (color), compares the abstract floral pattern on the floor to Monet's paintings of water lilies.
Emily Braun inKlimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900–1918. Ed. Tobias G. Natter. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie. New York, 2016, pp. 58, 60, 73, 77 n. 21, notes that her dress is similar to children's fashions illustrated in postcards by Mela Koehler and others.
Christian Witt-Dörring inKlimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900–1918. Ed. Tobias G. Natter. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie. New York, 2016, p. 199.
Janis Staggs inKlimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900–1918. Ed. Tobias G. Natter. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie. New York, 2016, p. 232.
Angela Völker inKlimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900–1918. Ed. Tobias G. Natter. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie. New York, 2016, p. 284.
Carl Kraus inKlimt and the Women of Vienna's Golden Age, 1900–1918. Ed. Tobias G. Natter. Exh. cat., Neue Galerie. New York, 2016, pp. 102–11, figs. 1 (color), 11 (installation photograph with sitter), reproduces drawing studies for it; states that Primavesi probably sat for the portrait soon after her mother's visit to the "Grosse Kunstausstellung" in Dresden in May 1912, where she saw the Josef Hoffmann-Anton Hanak-Klimt room; states that he finished the painting in late 1913, after receiving partial payment in June that year; compares it to Velázquez's "Portrait of the Infanta Margarita Teresa" (ca. 1656, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna); compares her pose to that found in Hanak's sculpted portrait of her (1911–15, Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten), as well as to contemporary depictions of boys, including Hodler's "Enchanted Boy" (1894, Kunsthaus Bern) and a figure in Munch's "Four Sons of Dr. Max Linde" (1903, Museum Behnhaus, Lübeck), among others; states that it was auctioned at the Dorotheum in 1940 and 1941, where it was acquired by the Historisches Museum der Stadt, Vienna.
A major new acquisition was recently installed in the galleries of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European paintings and sculpture: a statue of the sea goddess Galatea, made in 1906 by the leading German artist Max Klinger.
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