Born the son of a Currier and Ives painter, Alfred Henry Maurer would create works far different from that of his father. Unfortunately, their strong differences in opinion and style would create a tumultuous relationship that many believed affected Maurer's later works.
Though he learned commercial art from working alongside his father, Maurer would enroll in formal art studies at the age of sixteen. He studied first at the National Academy of Design before heading to Paris in 1897 to study at the Academie Julian.
Throughout his career Maurer's style would evolve from that of an Impressionist and Tonalist to the much stronger palette and brush work of the Fauvists and Cubists. His earliest shift can be distinguished between 1905 and 1907, after winning broad recognition in the 1901 Carnegie International Exhibition; he had befriended many expatriates in Paris, including Gertrude and Leo Stein, who introduced him to both Matisse and Cezanne. This group encouraged him to explore the techniques of the Fauvists. Such a transition in style has earned him the title of the "first modernist American painter".
He continued to work in the modern style of painting, and upon returning to the United States after the opening of World War I, he fully immersed himself in New York's thriving art community. He would exhibit in many of the modernist art shows of the period, including the Armory Show of 1913. He continued to show in these venues until his death, by suicide, in 1932.
His work can be seen in the collections of dozens of major American museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.