Knorr was born at Königsberg in East Prussia. In 1852, when he was almost eighteen, he entered the Königsberg Academy of Art, where he chiefly studied landscape. Later, his master was the painter August Behrendsen.
Many of Knorr's oil paintings are landscapes of the Norwegian coast, shown in all its seasons and moods. He is also known for drawings in chalk and charcoal to illustrate works of literature, including Esaias Tegnér's Frithjofssage (1867) and Carl Weitbrecht's Was der Mond bescheint (1872).
- Obituary in Die Christliche Kunst: Monatsschrift für alle Gebiete der christlichen Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft (1906), p. 122
- Altpreussische Monatsschrift, vol. 9 (1872), p. 509
- The Academy and Literature, vol. 5 (1874), p. 676
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