One of the first students at Buffalo's Art Students League to win an Albright Scholarship, Edward Dufner would head to New York and Paris to complete his education.
In 1893 he was in New York, taking classes along with Henry Siddons Mowbray. By 1898 Dufner, and his wife, were in Paris, where he enrolled at the Academies Julian and Carmen, and where he studied with James Whistler, who is viewed as Dufner's strongest influence. The couple remained in Europe for five years, and returned to the United States in 1903.
Upon his return he initially settled in Buffalo, where he took a position as an instructor at the Fine Arts Academy, but after four years he resigned and returned to New York City, where he taught at the Art Students League.
In 1910 he held special summer classes for the Art Students League in Caldwell, New Jersey, where he and his wife spent their summers. It was at this time that a distinct change appeared in his palette, as well as in his style. He began to create works in the Impressionistic style, and relied on a significantly lighter palette. He would soon earn the nickname of "the painter of sunshine" for his many pictures of glorious afternoons full of women and children in sparkling white garments, and bodies of water full of swimming ducks and springtime light.
Throughout his career he had exhibited widely, including the Paris Salons and the National Academy of Design. His works are in many private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the National Academy of Design Museum in New York City.