If you take one thing away from this painting, let it be the confidence and defiance of Gustav Klimt’s 9-year-old subject. The story of Mäda Primavesi, born in 1903 and the daughter of Eugenia and Otto Primavesi is an empowering one. She was surrounded by a community of artists and architects, who attended salons at her parents home. Original sketches have Mäda sitting in a chair, but her personality quickly changed that plan. In spite of her young age, she had the confidence to strike a defiant pose for Klimt’s painting; her gaze directly challenging the artist. This timeless portrait speaks to every generation and embodies strength and resiliency - reminding us that we too can make bold moves in life!
For 10 days every few months she traveled with her family to Vienna, Austria to sit for the great master. In a NYTimes interview in 1987, she recounts that over those visits they must have shared over 200 meals together. His presence was always calming, so gentle and tolerant for an impatient youth like herself. He even wrote her a quote in her autograph book that read: “Day is like night unless I see you. I am happier dreaming of you”.