The model Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) chose for Girl in Yellow was 17-year-old Irja Johansson. She painted her in 1933, in Ekenäs, an island to which the artist had moved in the mid-1920s. She depicts her model according to the day’s fashion as a young lady with a short, wavy bob and heavy makeup, and wearing a bright-yellow blouse with a pale-coloured collar. The work is typical of Schjerfbeck’s portraits in its sparing use of a limited, carefully selected colour palette. To brighten up her earthy palette, the artist has given her model red lips and the cheery yellow blouse after which the painting is named.