Willi Sitte was born in 1921 in Kratzau (today Chrastava, Czech Republic). After studying painting in Kronenburg in the Eifel region, from 1951 he taught at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Arts in Halle (Saale), where from 1959 onwards he was a professor. In 1974 he was elected president of the Association of Visual Artists, was a representative in the Volkskammer (parliament) of the GDR from 1976 and was a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party from 1986 to 1989. He received numerous National Prizes of the GDR. In 2003 he founded the Willi Sitte Foundation for Realist Art, based in Merseburg. Sitte died in 2013 in Halle/Saale (Saxony-Anhalt).
A retrospective was shown in 2021 in the Moritzburg art museum in Halle (Saale).