Jan Baptist Huysmans was born in Antwerp on 25th April 1826. He was a pupil of the Antwerp Academy from 1843 to 1849. He studied for several years in Paris and made his debut in 1853 at the art exhibition of Antwerp Artists.
In 1854 he travelled to Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Lombardy and in 1856 he visited Greece, Turkey, Syria, Palestine and Egypt, and later also Spain and Algeria. On his return he settled in Antwerp.