Johannes Walter-Kurau was born in 1869 in Mitau, Latvia, and died in 1932 in Berlin. He studied at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersurg and returning to Latvia, painted intensively and opened his own studio.
He was born Janis Valters but changed his name in 1906 when he moved to Germany, living firstly in Dresden and then Berlin. He took to Expressionism and became a member of the Berlin Secession and of the Russian group Mir Iskusstva, exhibiting all over Europe. He developed a reputation as a refined colourist specialising in portraits and landscapes.