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Gustav Klimt

Standing Woman (Study for Portrait Hermine Gallia)

chalk on paper
45 x 31 cm / 17 3/4 x 12 1/4 in.

This drawing belongs to a group of 37 known studies that Klimt did to prepare his portrait painting of Hermine Gallia which today is in the collection of the National Gallery in London, the only painting by Klimt in a public British museum. The portrait was commissioned by Hermine Gallia’s husband Moritz Gallia, a Viennese businessman, and executed between 1903 and 1904. Moritz Gallia owned 10 of the study drawings, among these the present work. A couple of these preparatory drawings is in the collections of the Albertina in Vienna and in the State museum of Joanneum in Graz. The work is one of the last and most elaborated studies that Klimt did for the painting and already shows a close similarity to the final composition of the portrait. Hermine Gallia wears a richly ondulating dress, designed by Klimt, and is depicted as a standing whole figure. The main difference to the painting is that in the drawing, the standing woman is turned to the left. With only a few accentuated lines featuring the left eyebrow and the lips, Klimt is able in this drawing to create his characteristic style of a slightly shifted face, as if the person was looking down on the viewer. At the same time, Klimt individualizes the portrayed person. Considering other drawings of that period, Klimt’s study for the portrait of Hermine Gallia strongly reminds of the studies Klimt made for the famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer which he finished three years later.

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