Ludwig Adler was a doctor and assistant at the first university hospital for women in Vienna when Oskar Kokoschka painted his portrait. As far as we know, Adler was not acquainted with the artist. The portrait was therefore probably commissioned. It is one of a well-defined group of portraits from the 1913-1914 period, in which Kokoschka worked on a fairly large scale, with a dynamic technique and the use of dark colours. The majority of Kokoschka’s paintings are portraits. He tried to express the inner world of the subject by depicting the characteristic physiognomy and body language of his model. In this he was inspired by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis, which brought about a revolution in the way the human psyche was viewed.