Gustav Klimt: Painting, Design and Modern Life in Vienna 1900: Room guide, The Gallia Apartment

The Gallia Apartment

Gustav Klimt Portrait of Hermine Gallia 1904

Gustav Klimt
Portrait of Hermine Gallia 1904

© National Gallery, London

The Gallia Family’s social and cultural journey – from their beginnings as ‘respectable’, but distinctly provincial, German-speaking Jews from Moravia and western Silesia – to a position as members of the Viennese arriviste was for many of Klimt’s and the Wiener Werkstätte’s clients typical. Born in 1858 and 1870, and already related, as uncle and niece, Moriz and Hermine were assured, by the time of their marriage in 1893, of a modicum of financial security through Moriz’s position as manager of a gaslight factory.

Early patrons of the Wiener Werkstätte (and, after 1914, shareholders), the Gallias acquired superb pieces, including many silver objects, by both its founders Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, in addition to the furniture, fabrics and carpets for the five interiors designed by Hoffmann for their Vienna apartment in 1913. Here, Hoffmann devised a setting that would not only suit his clients’ aspirations for an elegantly hospitable lifestyle but would also serve as a ‘showcase’ for their collection.

Hoffmann’s scheme for the Gallia’s embodies his later neo-classical style, characterised by the use of rich materials, restrained ornamental elements and a daring use of colour. His mastery of assimilation and adaptation are much in evidence, not least in his designs for the boudoir and salon/music room which he attuned to the colours used in the Klimt works, painted nearly a decade earlier, installed in each room: Portrait of Hermine Gallia 1903–4 adorned the walls of the boudoir and a landscape from the same period graced the salon/music.

Works on display

  • Josef Hoffmann Armchair out of a set of five from the Gallia hall suite 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Bureau from the Boudoir of Hermina Gallia 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Chair for the Boudoir of Mrs. Gallia c.1912
  • Josef Hoffmann Cigarette Box c.1904–5
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Boudoir Carpet 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Dining Room Rug 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Drawing Room Carpet 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Gentlemens Room Carpet 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Salon Rug 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Dining table from the Gallia Apartment Hall 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Fruit Basket c. 1905
  • Josef Hoffmann Fruit Basket c. 1908
  • Josef Hoffmann Occasional Table for the Boudoir of Mrs. Gallia 1913
  • Gustav Klimt Portrait of Hermine Gallia 1904
  • Koloman Moser Sweet Basket with Monogram HG (Hermine Gallia) c.1905
  • Bruno Reiffenstein The Boudoir of the Gallia Apartment c.1916
  • Bruno Reiffenstein The Dining Room of the Gallia Apartment c.1916
  • Bruno Reiffenstein The Gallia Family circa 1903
  • Bruno Reiffenstein The Hall of the Gallia apartment c.1916
  • Bruno Reiffenstein The Salon of the Gallia Apartment c.1916
  • Bruno Reiffenstein The Smoking Room of the Gallia Apartment c.1916
  • Josef Hoffmann Vase 1913
  • Josef Hoffmann Vase c.1906