During his training under Arthur siebelist (1900-1904) hit Ahlers-Hestermann under the influence of the impressionists and the North German-Danish Biedermeier. In 1903 he became a member of the Hamburgischen Künstlerclubs von 1897.
In 1907 he travelled to Paris for the first time and he joined the painters ' circle known as of the Café du Dôme, which also includes the German painters Hans Purrmann and Franz Nölken belonged. He followed from1909 les at the Académie Matisse and was also influenced by Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. During the period 1909-1914 he also made some trips to Italy, Corsica, southernFrance, England and Russia.He married in 1916 with the Russian artist Alexandra Povórina.
In 1918 returned Ahlers-Hestermann back to Hamburg and he struck a more expressionist direction. In 1919 he was, together with Paul Rée, a founding member of the Hamburgische Secession. In the period 1928-1933 he taught at the Werkschulen Cologne , but he was in 1933 by the National Socialists from that speech. After the war he was of 1946 to 1951 Director of the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg.