Jan Olis was born in Gorinchem. One of his pictures is signed from Rome in 1631, so it is presumed that he visited Italy at this time. In July 1632 he joined the Guild of St. Luke in Dordrecht, and stayed in this city until 1643 when he moved to The Hague. He is documented in Rotterdam in 1652, and later in Heusden where he died in 1676. He is referred to at various times as an alderman (of Heusden), a burgomaster, a vintner and a tax-collector. He was a genre, portrait, and still life painter.