Sigrid Hjertén was born in Sundsvall in 1885. She studied at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and graduated as a drawing teacher. At a studio party in 1909, Hjertén met her future husband, twenty-year-old Isaac Grünewald, who had already studied one year with Henri Matisse in Paris. Grünewald convinced her that she would do herself more justice as a painter. Later that year she went to Matisse's art school as well.