Hans (II) Abel was the son of a painter at times called Hans von Ulm, who is documented in Frankfurt am Main beginning in 1484, became a citizen there three years later, and moved to Mainz in 1506. By that time, his son had apparently already been born. The younger Abel occupied two houses in Mainz in 1543, but only attained citizenship in the year of his death. Between 1531 and 1534 he was paid for more than a dozen panel paintings by the counts of Isenburg-Büdingen. In 1536 he worked with Lucas Cranach the Elder on wall decorations and panel paintings at Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, and in the following two years he was also involved in the painting of the palace in Stuttgart. In addition, between 1538 and 1553, he frequently worked for publishers in Frankfurt and Mainz as a designer of woodcut illustrations.