Hanna Hirsch was born in Stockholm in 1864, the youngest daughter of the music publisher Abraham Hirsch and Pauline Meyerson. She grew up in the old town and spent the summers on Dalarö. The family belonged to the upper middle class and they hung out mainly within the Jewish Stockholm circle. Hanna began studying art at an early age, already at the age of 12 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and later at the Académie Colarossi in Paris 1885-87.
In 1887 she married Georg Pauli and took his surname. He was also active in the arts as a painter and sculptor. Hanna mainly painted intimate interiors and psychologically penetrating portraits. One of her most famous works is the group portrait Friends with Ellen Key centrally located in the picture where she sits and reads too loud for her friends in the company Juntan .. on the floor sits hanna herself.
Hanna and Georg built Villa Pauli in Nacka in 1905. There they each had their own studio and lived and worked for life. In the meadow south of Stockholm, Hanna has had a street named after her and her art can be found at the National Museum, Norrköping Art Museum and Bonnier's portrait collection.