The son of a German merchant, Hugo Vogel graduated from the Realschule in Magdeburg (Germany) in 1874. He then went to the art school in Düsseldorf and on graduating exhibited at the Prissian Academy of Arts.
Vogel taught for a while at the Berlin Academy, where he was given a profeeorship. However, when he and others formed a society to protest the closure by the Academy of an exhibition of works by Edvard Munch, the Director fired him.
He went to Paris and studied under Jules Ledebvre in 1893, before traveling extensively. In the First World War he was an official war artist for the German offensive against Romania and Russia.
He was known for portraits, historical landscapes, scenes from mythology, and for somemurals painted in German town halls.