Marta Hegemann enrolled at the School of Arts and Crafts in Cologne in 1911, where she got to know Heinrich Hoerle, Franz Wilhelm Seiwert and her future husband, Anton Räderscheidt. In 1912 she followed Räderscheidt to Düsseldorf and enrolled in the course for art teachers at the Düsseldorf School of Arts and Crafts. (This was because until 1919, women were not allowed to attend the Düsseldorf Art Academy.) She moved within the bohemian circles of Cologne. Marta Hegemann married Anton Räderscheidt in 1918. They decided to work as freelance artists and earned their living in part by working in handcrafts. They founded the New Cologne School of Painting which they later renamed “Stupid”. After members of “Stupid” regrouped as the Cologne Progressives, Hegemann distanced herself from her former friends from 1931 onwards.
After the Nazis assumed power in 1933, Hegemann was forbidden from exhibiting her work. She and her husband decided to leave Germany. They gave up their apartment and sold their household possessions in order to go and live in Italy. But all their efforts to make a living there were unsuccessful, and they were compelled to return to Cologne. Hegemann separated from her husband in 1934. The artworks by Marta Hegemann and Räderscheidt that were held by German museums were declared “degenerate” and removed. Hegemann now had to make a living for herself and her sons. She moved to Frankfurt am Main in 1938, then to Munich in 1939. It was no longer possible for her to work as an artist. She moved to Strasbourg in Alsace in 1942 on the erroneous assumption that she would be able to enter France from there. When the Allies invaded in 1944, she fled back to Germany, to her parents’ house in Iserlohn, though she had to leave much of what she owned behind, including many paintings. Her few remaining works were badly damaged in a bombing raid. After the war, she was unable to build upon her earlier successes.