Born in Frankfurt, Burnitz graduated from the University of Berlin in 1847 as a lawyer. After graduation, Burnitz traveled and painted for five years in Italy. Abandoning his law career, Burnitz traveled to Paris where he was introduced to the ideas of the Barbizon School by lithographer Karl Bodner. Studying under Emile Lambinet, Burnitz took inspiration from Daubigny and Corot. In 1857, Burnitz moved to Kronberg where he founded an artists' colony. Burnitz exhibited three landscapes in Munich's International Art Exhibition in 1869 winning a gold medal. His paintings hang in museums in Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg. Signed "Burnitz" lower left.