Cornelis Vreedenburgh was largely self-taught. Initially he worked as a house painter, drawing and painting in his spare time, until he was able to devote himself entirely to painting in 1904 through a Royal grant. Valuable to him were the advice of the impressionist W.B. Tholen, who often took him on his boat on the Kaag and the Loosdrechtse plassen. The meadow and water scenes that Vreedenburgh painted were immediately very popular for their strong colors and the striking way in which he portrayed the light and atmosphere of the landscape. In 1917 the painter settled in Laren, at that time a lively artists' village. From that time many Amsterdam cityscapes were created.
Vreedenburgh, born and raised in Woerden, came from a family of house painters and painters. Drawing and painting was also in his blood - he drew and painted every free moment, even during dinnertime - and he received the first lessons from his father. Besides his father Vreedenburgh, who never attended the academy, was also taught by G.J. Helm master who taught him the vision of the Hague School painters. During that time Vreedenburgh also met Albert Roelofs, son of Willem Roelofs. Vreedenburgh learned a lot from Albert Roelofs, who gave painting lessons to the young Queen Wilhelmina for some time. For example, 'Landscape with cows' van Vreedenburgh came to the attention of Queen Mother Emma, who bought it in 1907 for an amount of NLG 250.
In his spare time, Vreedenburgh went out together with peer and fellow townsman Leo Gestel to paint the landscapes around Woerden, Gestel from his vision as a modernist, Vreedenburgh as a supporter of the Hague School. Also valuable to him were the advice of the impressionist W.B. Tholen, who often took him on his boat on the Kaag, the Loosdrechtse plassen and the towns along the Zuiderzee. Tholen's influence is clearly noticeable in Vreedenburgh's work. Shortly after the turn of the century, we see a use of brown tones in his color palette. When Vreedenburgh lives in Hattem (1913-1917), it is the green tones of the IJssel landscape that take over. Later, the colors of Amsterdam and Leiden impressionism are added.
After his marriage in 1912 to the artist Marie Schotel, daughter of the renowned seascape painter J.C. Saucer, the couple left for St. Tropez in the South of France for a few years. When they returned, they settled in Hattem, where Vreedenburgh met Jan Voerman sr and jr, who also recorded the IJssel landscape. In 1904 Vreedenburgh received the Royal Subsidy, intended to encourage young artists and in 1905 his first entry to the Amsterdam artists' association Arti et Amicitiae was awarded the Willink van Collen Prize. He also became a member of the Hague artists' association Pulchri Studio.
His colorful, impressionistic cityscapes and atmospheric water landscapes in watercolor and oils quickly became popular. They sold well and the family could make a living on it. The critic H. van Calker describes his meadow landscapes as follows: 'The meadow landscape in the glow of the radiant sun, when the blue sky is clearly and deeply reflected in the water, the colorful cows form strong color contrasts against the light and the fences are clearly outlined. against the opulence of green '. Especially the canals and water of Amsterdam were an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Vreedenburgh. Van Calker says of the mood on one of these cityscapes: 'when the autumn mist envelops the tall houses along the water with a gray veil and a single yellow leaf floats on the water, while the barges are quietly moored on the side'.
But the water in the vicinity of the Gooi also attracted him. Lake views that offer a view of the open water with boats. He often sailed with his family on the Loosdrechtse plassen, always accompanied by his sketchbook. Vreedenburgh traveled abroad regularly, mostly to France and Italy. In later life he made a tour of the Middle East, about which his account with drawings and watercolors appeared in the Panorama Christmas Book of 1936.
In 1937 Vreedenburgh was honored with a major solo exhibition in Kunstzaal Hamdorff, during which all his paintings were sold, including two works on Queen Wilhelmina.
Vreedenburgh was a passionate artist who left behind an extensive and captivating oeuvre, with which he occupies his own place in art history. In his work he continues the nineteenth-century tradition with his talent to capture the colorful world around him with a contemplative view in a lively and moody way.