Friederike-Maria Beer had already been painted in 1914 by Schiele, to whom she was physically rather attracted. His portrait shows an angst-ridden figure, bent into a Z-shaped standing position, wearing a zigzag-patterned dress.
Friederike-Maria suggested that Klimt should paint her in a Viennese Workshop dress; she wore these exclusively. She was also very proud of a fur coat she owned, particularly during the hardship of the First World War, and Klimt decided that she should wear the coat too, but inside out, so that the decorative lining, also by the Viennese Workshop, was visible.
Klimt decided to make use of an imaginary oriental screen as a backdrop to her somewhat passive, symmetrical face. The scenes of figures fighting on horseback are taken from a Korean vase owned by Klimt and they are clearly a reference to the First World War. The fierce activity of these artificial figures is sharply contrasted with the docility of the sitter