Antonius Johannes Thieme was born in Rotterdam, Holland, on 20 February 1888; later he anglicised his name to Anthony Thieme. While his parents encouraged his artistic endeavours, they did not want him to become a professional artist and sent him off to naval school. Upon returning home around 1902, he studied at the Academie of Fine Arts in Rotterdam for two years, then briefly at the Royal Academy, The Hague. He travelled to Düsseldorf, Germany, where he studied with George Hacker and learned the art of stagecraft design. Three years later he journeyed to Switzerland, then to Italy. In Turin he assisted Guiseppe Mancini in creating stage sets for Ponchielli's La Gioconda. He enrolled at Turin's Scuola di Belle Arti, studying with Professor Carlobini in 1909.

In 1912 Thieme visited London and continued to New York where he painted stage sets for the Century Theater. The peripatetic artist then journeyed throughout South America, and Paris and London before returning to Italy. In 1917 he travelled to Boston where he remained for ten years as set designer for the Copley Theater.

In 1928 his first one-man show held at the Grace Horne Galleries in Boston was a success, and Thieme turned from stage set design to landscape painting. He married Lillian Beckett in 1929 and the couple moved to Rockport on Cape Ann. The artist started the Thieme School of Art, which he directed from 1929 to 1943. In 1930 he was elected a member of Grand Central Galleries, New York, where he exhibited regularly. From 1946-1950, he spent time in Grasse, France, exhibiting at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris in 1950. In the winter Thieme would travel to southern climates, taking a studio in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1947. On 7 December 1954, Thieme, exhausted and despondent, killed himself in a Greenwich, Connecticut, hotel.

Kenneth W. Maddox