American Modernist, Alfred Maurer was born in New York City. His parents were of German descent and his father was a lithographer whom Maurer began working with at the age of 16 when he dropped out of school. While his father despised modern art, Alfred Maurer went on to become one of the most accomplished modern artists of the twentieth century. He attended school at National Academy of Design, New York and was inspired by artists such as William Merritt Chase and James Abbott Whistler. Like many other artists Maurer traveled to Paris and attended the Académie Julian, but remained enrolled only for a short time. He felt too confined to the overall structure of the coursework.
He remained in Paris until 1914. He made many friends including Gertrude and Leo Stein, Arthur Dove and Henri Matisse. Alfred Maurer was inspired by fauvism and the movement helped reshape Maurer’s own painting style. It allowed for him to have much more freedom of expression in his work and a bold exhilarating use of color. As part of the avant-garde movement, Maurer was highly respected by his fellow contemporary artists. He became an associate member of the modernist Salon d’Automne in Paris and exhibited at Gallery 291 in 1909 and the New York Armory Show in 1913.
Although Alfred Maurer loved living overseas in Paris, by 1914 at the onset of World War I he returned permanently back home to New York City. His father denied support but, Maurer continued to paint in his home. A decade later his studio was purchased by art dealer Ernest Weyhe and he was financially secure.
Following the death of his mother in 1917, he started to separate himself from society. Alfred Maurer took his own life in 1932 at the age of 64. His work can now be viewed at the Chicago Art Institute, the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute, The Phillips Collection, The Barnes Foundation and numerous others.