Dorothy Dehner was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1901. She majored in drama at UCLA , then moved to New York City to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Following a trip to Europe entered the Art Students League. She produced paintings, sculpture and poetry and explored abstract, cubist, realist and surrealist styles throughout her career. She had major retrospective exhibitions of her work at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1965, City University of New York, 1991, Katonah Museum of Art, 1993, and Cleveland Museum of Art, 1995.