Paul Kleinschmidt was born into the traveling theater environment through his parents, an actress and a theater director. He began studying art in 1902 at the Berlin Art Academy with Anton von Werner. From 1903 onwards, Kleinschmidt was in close contact with Lovis Corinth. In 1915 he was wounded and discharged from military service during the First World War and married Margarethe Treichel, who from then on became his most important subject. As a drawing teacher, he initially earned his living. From 1923 he was in contact with the art critic Julius Meier-Graefe, who praised him as a “proletarian Rubens” and referred him to collectors. When the National Socialists came to power, his art was labeled “degenerate” and three of his works were shown at the 1937 exhibition “Degenerate Art”. After a trip to the New York art collector Erich Cohn, an emigration to the Netherlands and France, Kleinschmidt was forcibly repatriated to Germany by the Nazi security service. Since then he has lived in Bensheim.