Walter Gramatté was born in 1897 and served in the German army during World War I. At the completion of his military service in 1918, Gramatté concentrated his energies on his art in Berlin.
During the 1920s he produced many watercolors and oil paintings, but his primary interest was in experimentation with etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and drypoints. Throughout his life he produced mostly portraits, including 200 self- portraits and 120 studies of his wife. Through his art, Gramatté revealed a gift for observation and analysis of human character.
Suffering from continuous poor health, he died in 1929 at the age of thirty- two. Three years after his death, a memorial exhibition was held at the Art Association in Hamburg. The exhibition traveled to several other cities in Germany, but was closed prematurely by the Nazis who considered his work to be “degenerate.”