Ilse Martha Bischoff was born on November 21, 1901 in New York City, to Adele Maria Timme Bischoff and Ernst Bischoff, founder of the Ernst Bischoff (pharmaceuticals) Company of Ivoryton, Connecticut.
Bischoff began her education at the Horace Mann School, later studying costume design at the Parson's School of Design. At the Art Students League, she studied painting under Frank Du Mond and etching with Joseph Pennell. While at the Art Students League, Bischoff befriended painters Paul Cadmus and Jared French. She also studied art in Paris, France, and Munich, Germany.
From 1928 to 1946, Bischoff illustrated 12 books and wrote two novels about George Washington's Portraitist, Gilbert Stuart: Painter's Coach in 1943, and Proud Heritage in 1949. Her autobiography, Drive Slowly: Six Dogs, was published in 1953. She was also an avid collector of Meissen porcelain.
Bishoff's artwork is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth.
Ilse Martha Bischoff died December 5, 1990, in Hartland, Vermont.