Gillis van Coninxloo was born on January 24, 1544 in Antwerp as the son of painter Jan II. van Coninxloo. He spent his apprentice years with his teachers Lenaert Kroes and Gillis Mostaert. After a short trip to France and Italy, Gillis van Coninxloo returned to Antwerp, where he was admitted to the St. Lucas Guild and married Maeyken Robroeck, with whom he had three children. When the Spanish besieged the city of Antwerp, Gillis van Coninxloo first fled to Zeeland and two years later to Frankenthal near Hanau. In 1595 Gillis van Coninxloo moved to Amsterdam, where he became a citizen and married for a second time in 1603. His second wife, Geertgen van Eeden gave him a son. In Amsterdam Coninxloo became a member of the speakers' chamber 'Twit Lavendel'. Gilles van Coninxloo was highly respected in art circles, particularly for his landscapes, in which he composed close-up views of the forest like an impenetrable thicket and combined them with alley-like open strips.
Gillis van Coninxloo died in Amsterdam on January 4, 1607.