Thérèse Schwartze was born in Amsterdam and initially trained with her father, the portraitist Johan Georg Schwartze (1814-1874). After his death, she travelled to Munich (1875-76) to study under the guidance of some of the leading portraitists in Germany: Gabriel Max, Franz von Lenbach and Karl von Piloty. This experience undoubtedly helped her develop her own style and on her return to Amsterdam she became an increasingly sought after portraitist. In 1881 she received her first royal commission. In 1878 Schwartze made her first visit to Paris which she found stimulating. However, she was not successful in finding either a teacher or a studio to work in. She returned again the following year but it was not until 1884 when her reputation as a portrait painter was already well established that Schwartze returned to Paris to study with Jean Jacques Henner, Jules Breton and Madeleine Lemaire. During this period Schwartze also came into contact with Impressionism which greatly developed her talent. Notably she adopted a technique of modelling the face and hands of her sitters finely while drawing in the clothes with a broad stroke. Thérèse Schwartze reached the peak of her fame between 1880 and 1890 but remained in constant demand as a portraitist throughout her life. She taught pupils at her Amsterdam studio which also became a meeting place for a group of women artists known as the Joffers and she travelled and exhibited extensively in Europe. She was among the most successful women artists of the nineteenth century and at her death she left several properties and a substantial personal fortune. She was one of the few women painters who had been honoured by an invitation to contribute their portraits to the hall of painters at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Some of her best pictures, notably a portrait of Piet J Joubert, and Three Inmates of the Orphanage at Amsterdam, are at the Rijksmuseum, and one entitled The Orphan at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Her sister Georgina was a sculptor, and the daughters of her sister Clara Theresia, Lizzy Ansingh en Sorella Ansingh were also female painters.