Born in Columbus, Ohio, into a prosperous family, Alice Schille pursued art from an early age. She began her art training at the Columbus Art School, where she advanced quickly and began teaching within a few years. In 1897, she moved to New York City to enroll in the Art Students League. For several years she studied there, as well as the New York School of Arts with the renowned painter William Merritt Chase.
In 1902, Schille made her first trip to Europe, traveling to Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. In Paris, five of her paintings were accepted for exhibition at the Paris Salon, a significant accomplishment and an indication of Schille’s upcoming success as a painter.
Schille’s style shifted during her European travels. She was influenced not only by the culture, but also the painters of her time — Vincent van Gogh, George Seurat, and Henri Matisse. She was among the earliest American artists to fully embrace European modernism and she is often credited for bringing the style back to the United States through watercolor.
During the early 1920’s through the 1940’s, Schille painted in Mexico, Guatemala, North Africa, and throughout the United States. Her travels continuously influenced her perspective, inspiring unique and varied paintings. Over the years, Schille’s technique became looser and her colors more arbitrary. However, her style did not change in a linear fashion – her paintings were consistently energetic, whimsical, and brightly colored.