In 1945 the Brandenburg estate of the von Arnim family was expropriated by the Soviet army and their father deported. Bettina von Arnim fled with her mother and siblings to West Germany. She grew up in Schwäbisch Hall, attended grammar school there and spent a school year in Cambridge, Mass., on a scholarship from the American Field Service. She studied at the Berlin Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Fritz Kuhr's class from 1960 to 1965. In 1967/68 she completed her teacher training and subsequently worked as a teacher. In 1964 she had her first solo exhibition at the Dorothea Loehr Gallery in Frankfurt am Main. From 1970 on she was represented by Galerie Poll in Berlin, and from 1972 on she was part of the Aspekt group, which wanted to oppose the prevailing styles of abstract painting with critical realism. Von Arnim moved to southwest France with her two daughters in 1975. She appeared in the following exhibitions, among others: "Prinzip Realismus", a travelling exhibition with stops in Berlin, Munich, Rome and Athens (1972−1974), "Naivität der Maschine", Frankfurter Kunstverein (1974) and "1984 − George Orwell und die Gegenwart", Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna (1984). Von Arnim has had solo exhibitions at the Centre Culturel de la Ville de Toulouse (1977), the Musée de Cahors (1979), the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (1985), the Musées de la Ville d'Agen (1990) and the Gotische Halle der Stadt Ansbach (2000/01). In 2014/15 works by her were shown in the exhibition "German Pop" at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. Since then, she has been represented by Galerie Philipp Pflug Contemporary in Frankfurt am Main, which organised solo shows in 2015 and 2017.