Charles Frederic Ulrich was born in New York in 1858. The son of a German artist, he received early training before enrolling at the National Academy of Design. In 1875 he continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Ulrich remained in Germany for several years, where he was influenced by artistic techniques he saw. After returning to the United States, he developed a positive reputation as an artist, and his small-scale genre scenes were well received.