Klimt's most extraordinary frame surrounds this near-photographic portrait of the pianist Joseph Pembauer. Its wide, flat surface is decorated with various and apparently unrelated, motifs. At top right stands Apollo, the Greek god of music, playing a lyre - a motif echoed in the background of the actual portrait, in a clear reference to Pembauer's musical career. Moving clockwise around the frame is a decorative Ionic column, a fish, a spatula dangling from a loop of rope, adorned with the initials G S which was the trademark of a well-known cafe in Munich, two heads, a Delphic tripod like that in the Hofburg Actor Josef Lewinsky as Carlos and some circles and stars.
The very limited colour range - red, black and gold - and the decorative effect of the motifs combine to produce a porttait with an air of opulence and luxury, fitting for a successful male pianist.