Johanna Staude's painting is striking. Dressed in Wiener Werkstatte clothing, with a pattern known as "leaves", Johanna gazes directly at the viewer. A dark feather boa encircles her neck and emphasises her pale colouring. A thoroughly modern woman for the times, she sports a short, wavy haircut. According to the writer Peter Altenberg, for whom Johanna worked for at one point, she was a "modern angel".
Johanna Staude was born in Vienna in 1883 and modelled for both Klimt and Egon Schiele. It was well known that Klimt often shared his models with the young, aspiring artist, Schiele. Klimt was also known to have had many relationships with his models and even fathered up to seventeen children with them. However, it seems that Klimt always ensured that his models were well cared for and it may have been through Klimt, that Johanna Staude secured work with the writer Altenberg.
Klimt's palette of colours has been noted as becoming darker following his mother's death in 1915. Here, in Johanna Staude's painting, Klimt provides a striking contract between the predominately blue patterned dress and the orange/red background. Klimt's ability to focus attention upon the face is apparent. Although Johanna Staude's mouth may be unfinished, the viewer is still drawn to her face. Klimt would no doubt have loved the pattern on her clothing as he was interested in fashion and often illustrated clothing designs for his long-term companion and fashion designer, Emilie Floge.
The Johanna Staude Painting is now held in the Österreichische Gallerie in Vienna, Austria along with twenty four other Klimt pieces, including his most famous "Kiss". Klimt died in 1918 but continues to inspire many artists and his work continues to enchant and transfix a new generation of art lovers.