Hermine Gallia Gustav Klimt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Hermine Gallia

The classic portrait seized the character of Hermine Gallia, as she poses for artist Gustav Klimt, illustrating her form through his own unique style. The painting incorporates a few realist techniques to illustrate the painting, yet is based on a solemn impressionist style.

The portrait of Hermine Gallia was painted by 1903, as Klimt had showcased his work at the Secession exhibition during that year. The woman is the daughter of Karl Wittgenstein, and is dressed in a piece Klimt had picked out on his own. The colours and forms within the piece were one of the first time the artist had explored the mosaic shapes and patterns to manifest his idea.

Hermine Gallia is drenched in a luxurious dress, a critical element to analyze within the portrait. As the artist had picked the dress, Klimt found the piece intriguing as it successfully illustrates the wealth and style at the onset of the 20th century. The artist felt that a change would evolve in the future, and desired to showcase the traditional lifestyle at the time. The dress evidently showcases a specific style during the time, with an array of fabrics layered upon one another to highlight the presence of the woman.

The woman stands in an upright position, however differs from Klimt's other muses as she is gently tilted towards the side and stands with her body angled side ways. Many of the models that Klimt painted standing in an upright position faced forwards, however this portrait incorporates a different angle. The woman's face is rounding, holding classic Austrian features through her pale skin, arched eyebrows, and rich hair colour.

Gallia's hair is perfectly styled in a structured up do, illustrating the popular hairstyle at the time of the competition of the painting. Klimt's signature element that he always incorporated into the face of the models he painted was their red rosy cheeks. Due to their pale face, adding a small dose of colour within their cheeks as the only was to bring lively elements to the painting. The woman's lips remain a simple colour, in their natural shade of orange.

As the woman holds her arms together at the front of her body, she showcases the shape ad structure of her dress. Her dress is based in a cream colour with a light blue undertone throughout the piece. The focal point of the dress is the array of chiffon ruffles flowing through the dress and the layered fabrics illustrated upon each other.

To paint a chiffon material and ruffles is one of the most difficult tasks of an artist, as it requires an immense around of details to illustrates a texture as sheer and to showcase the other one underneath. Different ruffles are located throughout the piece, with fluffy ones located around the neck of the woman, and textured stripes near her arms, alongside whirling ones near the bottom of her dress.

A significant aspect of the portrait is that the piece is one of the artist's first time incorporating different patterns. The woman's ruffles on the side of her dress gently fall in a strategic swirl, and the carpet portrayed in the right background of the piece illustrates a light pattern of bright colours and different shapes. The texture of the wall remains in a classic sponged technique, created by light vertical brush strokes to keep the walls plain in order to bring attention to the muse.