Annot Jacobi was the daughter of Otto Krigar-Menzel, a professor of theoretical physics at the Technical University of Berlin. She was the great-niece of Adolph von Menzel, who was one of her godfathers alongside Johannes Brahms. Because women were not allowed to enroll at the Academy to study art, she began lessons with Lovis Corinth in 1915. Early on, she developed an active interest in the pacifist movement. When she distributed a memorandum by Prince Karl Max von Lichnowsky against the First World War, she was sentenced to 30 days in the Moabit Jail in 1916.
She lived in Oslo in 1917 and 1918, and engaged with the pacifist movement. In 1920, Jacobi was a founding member of the League for Human Rights and the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom. She became friends with Carl von Ossietzky. In 1921, she married the painter Rudolf Jacobi and lived with him in Positano until 1926. They moved to Paris to further their artistic education, enrolling in the painting school of André Lhote. In 1928, Jacobi and her husband opened the Annot Art School in Berlin. She joined the Berlin Secession, the Association of German Artists, the association Die Juryfreien, and became a committee member of the Association of Women Artists of Berlin. She subsequently received several invitations to the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and she also had exhibitions in Germany. In 1933, Jacobi refused to dismiss Jewish students from her school, whereupon the Nazis closed it down. In 1934 she emigrated with her family to the USA to “spare her children an upbringing in the Third Reich”. They opened the Annot Art School in the Rockefeller Building in New York. Sponsored by Ann Morgan, she exhibited at the Marie Sterner Gallery in Manhattan in 1934/35. In 1935, Jacobi was awarded the gold medal at the 44th annual exhibition of women painters and sculptors in the Fine Art Building in New York for her painting Käthe Kruse and Her Children. She joined several pacifist organisations and in 1956 moved to Puerto Rico, where she became close friends with world-famous cellist, conductor and composer Pablo Casals. She and her husband returned to Germany in 1967.