When Dorothea Greenbaum was young, she was chronically ill and could not attend regular school. Instead, at age fifteen, she enrolled in Saturday morning art classes where she studied under the conservative painter Kenneth Hayes Miller. Greenbaum painted for years until a friend gave her a piece of modeling clay while she was recovering from an illness. She sculpted for the remainder of her career, using traditional materials and techniques. A founding member of both the Sculptors Guild and the Artists Equity Association, Greenbaum was also an elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Her figurative sculptures were inspired by nature, and her favorite subjects included women, children, and animals.