Vogeler was born in Bremen. He studied at the academy of arts in Düsseldorf from 1890–95. Vogeler was a central member of the artist colony in Worpswede, which he joined in 1894. He started making book illustrations and executed decorative paintings for the town hall of Bremen in 1906. In 1908 he and his brother Franz founded the 'Worpsweder Werkstätte', which produced household objects. He volunteered for military service in World War I in 1914, and he was sent to the eastern front in 1915. After he made a written appeal for peace to the German Emperor, he was briefly sent to a mental hospital in Bremen before being discharged from military service. After the war he became a pacifist and joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). In 1931 Vogeler emigrated to the Soviet Union. He was deported in 1941 to Kazakhstan by Soviet authorities, and died there in 1942.