Baptised on 15 December 1610 in Antwerp where he studied under his father, the obscure David Teniers I. His earlier works also suggest the influence of Brouwer. He became a master in the Antwerp guild in 1632/3 and was dean in 1645/6. By 1649 he was attracting distinguished patronage and in 1615 he was made official painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, Governor of the Netherlands.
He held the same posts under Don Juan of Austria, the next Governor (The Entry of Don Juan of Austria into Brussels 1656). Between 1650 and 1655 he visited England to buy pictures for the Count Fuensaldaña, and dealing then took up much of his time. In 1662 he bought a country house, De Drie Toren at Perck, from the second husband of Helena Fourment (who had been Rubens' second wife). In 1680 he obtained a long-sought patent of nobility. He died in Brussels on 25 April 1690. His eldest son, David Teniers III (1638-85), was also a painter.