The sitter is Hermine Gallia, née Hamburger (1870 - 1936). In 1893 she married her uncle, Moritz Gallia, a government adviser who became a leading patron of the arts. In this painting she wears a dress designed by Klimt.
Numerous drawings exist for the composition of this work, and several alterations are visible to the naked eye, much of the figure's contour having been altered. In 1903 the painting was shown in an unfinished state in the Klimt-Kollective exhibition.