Baptised on 24 May 1619 in Haarlem, the eldest son of the painter Pauwels Joostens Wouwermans (d.1642). His brothers Pieter 1623-82) and Jan (1629-66) were also painters. He was said to have studied with Hals in Haarlem, and to have gone to Hamburg c.1638 when his family objected to his marriage to a Catholic.
He had returned by 1640 when he entered the Haarlem guild. His earliest known dated work is of 1639. In the 1640s he was apparently influenced by the Italianate genre of P. van Laer and J. Asselijn, but he subsequently came to specialise in military subjects, hunting scenes and elegant companies. Very successful, he was a rich man when he died in Haarlem on 19 May 1668.