She was born in the city of Gleisdorf, Austria in 1943. Her parents enrolled her in a college to become a teacher. She specialized in creative education, physical education and English. She traveled to the United States where she taught skiing, performing only a few graphic experiments. In 1973 she traveled to Mexico City because she was interested in pre-Hispanic cultures. She taught German and art until she entered La Esmeralda to study visual arts at the National School of Painting and Sculpture: La Esmeralda , and at the National School of Plastic Arts of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She traveled to her native country in 1976, but returned to Mexico to study at the Academia de San Carlos where Gilberto Aceves Navarro was her teacher. Dissatisfied with the training process, she continued to search for the method that would make her talent explode, which she found in the abstract expressionism that she showed in her first drawing exhibition in 1980. Another sample of oils followed where the geometric and the lyrical coexisted. Ilse Gradwohl was a fellow of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts and a member of the National System of Creators, in 1997-1999 and in 2000-2002. She traveled to Africa at the invitation of the Austrian embassy in Ethiopia to teach a series of workshops and showcase her work in that country, in addition to Kenya, Nairobi and South Africa. The main obstacle that Gradwohl had to face was the lack of materials with which to teach professional and amateur artists. This problem was solved with imagination: the artist found the raw material for the creation of art in the exuberant African nature. She obtained charcoal from the logs used for cooking; and wax, from the honeycombs.