Beatrice Riese was born in the Netherlands in 1917. While studying in Paris in the 1930’s, Riese was exposed to and gained a love for African art. In 1940 Riese and her family moved to Africa and later to the United States. There Reise took art classes with Clyfford Still at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1943-1945. After moving to New York City in 1949, Reise became a textile designer to support her and her on. The effects of that job on her art would later become evident as many of her patterns contained gridded geometric forms and lines similar to woven fabric and clothing she was working on.