Edward Cucuel was born in San Francisco in 1875, the son of a newspaper publisher. He attended the local academy of arts before moving to Paris to study at the Academie Julian and the Academie Colarossi. He later studied at the Academie des Beaux Arts.
In 1896 Cucuel briefly returned to the USA to work as a newspaper illustrator in New York before moving back to Paris to devote himself to art. He spent two years travelling through France and Italy studying the old masters, later moving to Berlin to work as an illustrator. In 1907 he settled in Munich, where he joined the artists' group 'Scholle' and exhibited with the Munich Secession. His work was successfully exhibited in Paris in 1912.
In 1939 Cucuel finally moved back to the USA to Pasadena, California, where he led a secluded life until his death in 1954.
His favourite subjects were portraits of women and nudes plein-air.