Portrait of Hermine Gallia

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This is the only painting by Klimt in a British public collection, and it’s a fine example of the portraits of society women he painted in the early years of the twentieth century. Wearing a shimmering dress made of translucent white chiffon, Hermine Gallia appears almost to float before us. The sinuous lines of her dress recall Art Nouveau and Japanese prints. The geometrical pattern of its lower half, and the mosaic-like design of the carpet, hint at the ‘Byzantine’ style Klimt was to adopt a few years later.

Klimt was the leading artist in Austria at the time. He was a founder member and the first president of the Vienna Secession, an association established in 1897 to promote modernism in art, design and architecture. Hermine Gallia and her husband were also important patrons of the avant garde.

The National Gallery, London



Portrait of Hermine Gallia




Oil on canvas


H 170.5 x W 96.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1976

Work type


Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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