Carl Kahler was born in Linz, Austria in 1855, Carl Kahler studied at the Munich Art Academy and in Paris. During the 1880s he was well known in Germany and Austria.
An itinerant artist, in 1886 he sailed for Australia where his works were well received and in demand. While there, he was awarded the commission for four paintings of the Melbourne Cup (racing event) and others in New Zealand.
Upon moving to San Francisco from NYC in 1891, he opened a studio where he specialized in figure painting. The local press called him "an erratic genius" who asked enormous prices for his canvases and would often destroy a painting if he was unhappy with it or if he thought it would sell for less than he felt it was worth.