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Marie Egner was born on August 25, 1850 in Bad Radkersburg as the second daughter of a forest administrator, Josef Egner, and his wife Therese, in Styria. In 1865 the family moved to Graz. Early in life Marie Egner exhibited talents in music and art. She drew pictures and played the pianoforte. From 1867 to 1872 Enger took drawing lessons with landscape painter Hermann von Königsbrunn at the Steiermärkische Landeszeichenschule in Graz. From 1872 to 1875 she studied with landscape painter Carl Jungheim in Düsseldorf where she concentrated on oil painting. In Dusseldorf she met the Austrian landscape painter Hugo Darnaut.


In March 1875 Egner returned to Graz and in November moved to Vienna where she had a private painting school in her studio until 1910. In 1878 she moved to Rennweg; in the same year she successfully completed a course in English at the Karl Franzens University in Graz. In 1880 Marie Egner met Austrian landscape painter Emil Jakob Schindler. Together with Schindler and his pupils Carl Moll and Olga Wisinger-Florian Egan spend the summer months until 1887 at Plankenberg Castle in Lower Austria where they experienced open-air painting. In November 1882 Egner moved with her mother to the Margarethenstraße. She made several study trips to Dalmatia, Corfu, Germany, and Italy after this move.

In October 1887 Marie Egner accepted an invitation to teach drawing to young girls in England at a school in Wimbledon and Kensington. In 1888 she participated in exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London. In 1889 and 1892 her work was exhibited at the royal glass palace in Munich. In 1895 she traveled in the Netherlands to Den Haag, Rotterdam, and Delft. In 1898 Egner made a study trip to Naples. In 1900 she participated in the Paris World Exposition.


From 1900 to 1909 Marie Egner was a member of the women’s group 8 Artists and she participated in several exhibitions at Salon Pisko in Vienna. In 1902 Egner Italian travels were in Tuscany to Arrezzo, Cortona, Orvieto, Siena, and San Gimignano. In 1903 to 1904 she made trips to Istria and Dalmatia. In 1906 her health was impaired by sciatica. In May 1910 her health problems forced Egner to give up her school and she moved to Klagbaumgasse in the 4th district. In the same year she participated in the 37th Secession Exhibition in Vienna which was devoted to women's art.


After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Marie Egner was in Serbia and failed to leave in time to avoid being interned, due to her Austrian citizenship, with others for several months. In 1917 her eyesight deteriorated and in 1920 she underwent eye surgery. In 1922 the artist was presented with the Hermine Lang-Laris Award for her oil painting titled Mountain River. In 1935 she was awarded the title of "Professor" by the Federal Ministry for Education. Marie Egner died in Vienna on March 31, 1940.

Along with Olga Wisinger-Florian, Tina Blau, and Broncia Koller-Pinell Marie Egner was one of the most important Austrian artists at the turn of the 20th century. Her lyric landscape and flower motifs in the style of open-air painting are among the most impressive examples of Austrian mood-impressionism. Works by the artist are now found in numerous collections including the Belvedere in Vienna, the Neue Galerie Graz, and the Museum Niederösterreich in St. Pölten.