Adriaan Lubbers was born in the Netherlands in 1892, the son of a well-to-do estate agent. As a young man he studied mechanical engineering, which brought him to South America in 1911. By 1914 he realized that he wanted to return to the Netherlands to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an artist.
His early art career included exhibiting his works in March 1922 in Amsterdam.
During that period he settled with others artists in a farmhouse at Vierhouten. There he met the painter Leo Gestel with whom he traveled to New York. At 33 years old, Lubbers produced his first drawings which depict New York landmarks in a realistic style.
In order to survive in NYC, Lubbers worked odd jobs to support himself and his work. According to Italo Tovolato, he was a worker in a factory, a joiner, a herring peddler, a mechanic and a cabaret singer in Hoboken harbor. Some of these places are represented in his work. Lubbers lived in New York fewer than six years, mostly from 1916 to 1919 and 1926 to 1928, but during these stays he made not only paintings, but also copious drawings.
Lubbers died suddenly in 1954 of a brain hemorrhage while visiting Manhattan. His works remain a great record of New York architecture and atmosphere between the first and second world wars.