Van Brussel was born in the village of Zuid Polsbroek, near Utrecht. His first teacher was the Haarlem painter Jan Augustini (1729–1773), for whom he worked making decorative paintings for the walls of elegant homes.
Van Brussel moved to Amsterdam in 1774, and lived there for the remainder of his life, active as a painter of fruit and flower still lifes; dated works are known from 1778 to 1794. His colourful and highly finished paintings featured in prominent collections throughout Europe.
He drowned while ice skating, at the age of 41.