Born in Illinois in 1867, Impressionist painter Pauline Lennards Palmer had her first educational experience at a convent in Milwaukee. She later attended the Art Institute of Chicago and was invited to become the supervisor of art for the entire Chicago public school system in 1878. She performed her duties and continued her studies until 1891, when she married. At this same time her teacher, William Merritt Chase, encouraged her to head to Paris to complete her training.
She attended the Academie Colarossi, studying under Gustave Courtois among others. She was awarded and recognized for her works there and exhibited at the Paris Salon for the four years she attended.
She returned to Chicago and opened her own studio. Her portraits, interiors and genre scenes were quite popular and she had more than thirty exhibitions at the Chicago Art Institute, additionally she exhibited in other locations around the country and continually won awards for her works. She was a medal winner at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition as well as the famous Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.
Upon the death of her husband in d 1921 she relocated from Chicago to Provincetown, Massachusetts and began painting the dunes and seascapes of the area. She still traveled on painting excursions and played an active role in the art world.
Her paintings are in the collections of the Chicago Union League Club, the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Institute also makes an annual award in her honor.