At the age of seventeen, after some informal lessons in painting and drawing, she went to Berlin to study at a private art school before moving on to the teaching institute at the Museum of Decorative Arts, which she attended until 1886.
Her oldest sister Cornelia Schorer became one of the first female doctors in Germany. The following year, she began studies at the "Verein der Berliner Künstlerinnen" an art school for women, where they were allowed to study anatomy and draw from live models. The official Prussian Academy of Art was still a male-only institution at that time.
Later, on a holiday back home, she met some Scandinavian artists and travelled to Paris with them but, except for the Louvre, was rather disappointed.
He chose Willy Gretor and she became Maria Slavona. They also had an illegitimate daughter who later became an actress under the name Lilly Ackermann, after the man her mother married in 1900, the Swiss art dealer Otto Ackermann (1871-1963).
Slavona"s first exhibit came in 1893 at the Salon de Champ-de-Mars of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, ironically under the male pseudonym "Carl-Maria Plavona". In 1901, she joined the Berlin Secession and returned with her family to Lübeck in 1906.
By 1909, she was back in Berlin.
Her health never improved, however, and her last years were spent painting flowers and landscapes in the vicinity of her home near Münsing. Her work was forgotten for many years, having been branded as "Entartete Kunst" (Degenerate Art) in 1933. During World World War II, many of her paintings were destroyed, either intentionally or as a result of the war.
lieutenant wasn"t until 1981 that a significant retrospective was held by the Bröhan Museum in Berlin.