According to Houbraken he was born in 1654, "the same year that took Fabricius by a stroke of fate", and though there were few painters in Getruidenberg to copy from, he sketched and drew in charcoal so enthusiastically that his parents sent him to learn drawing from the famous painter Caspar Netscher. He later took lessons from Nicolas Maes, and later still, from Jan de Baen in The Hague.
According to the RKD, he was a pupil of Nicolaes Maes in Dordrecht who moved to The Hague in 1664, where he studied with Jan de Baen. Ten years later he joined the Confrerie Pictura in 1674. His son Johannes Vollevens II also became a respected portrait painter.
- Houbraken made several puns on the name Vollevens, which means "full of life", and in this sentence he refers to a year which gave a creative life and took a creative life. It is the only mention of Fabricius in the book, and Vollevens' birth year was in fact five years earlier.
- (Dutch) Johannes Vollevens Biography in De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of the Digital library for Dutch literature
- Johannes Vollevens in the RKD