Cornelis Vreedenburgh was largely self-taught. Initially he worked as a house and decorative painter, drawing and painting in his spare time, until he was able to devote himself entirely to painting in 1904 through a Royal grant for promising young artists. 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 because of their strong colors and the striking way in which he depicted the light and atmosphere of the landscape. In 1917 the painter settled in Laren, at that time a lively artists' village. From that time on, 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. In addition to his father, Vreedenburgh, who never attended the academy, was also taught by Gerard Roermeester (1902), who taught him the artistic ideas 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 Princess 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 fl. 250, -.
In his spare time, Vreedenburgh went out around 1900 together with his peer and fellow townsman Leo Gestel to paint the landscapes around Woerden, Gestel from his vision as a modernist, Vreedenburgh as a budding impressionist. Also valuable to him were the advice of the impressionist W.B. Tholen, whose influence is clearly noticeable in Vreedenburgh's work. Shortly after the turn of the century In 1905, around that time we see his color palette change to a use of brown tones, his first entry to the Amsterdam artists' association Arti et Amicitiae was awarded the Willink van Collen Prize. Vreedenburgh also became a member of the Hague artists' association Pulchri Studio.
After his marriage in 1912 to the artist Marie Schotel, daughter of the well-known marine painter J.C. Schotel, the couple first moves to Nunspeet, where they live in a small farm and Vreedenburgh paints the rural life of the Veluwe. In August 1912 Vreedenburgh wrote to Albert Plasschaert: 'We live here wonderfully alone, I don't understand the country yet.' In 1913 the couple moved towards the water, to Hattem. There Vreedenburgh gets to know Jan Voerman sr and jr, who in their own way captured the water-rich IJssel landscape. In this time it is the green tones of the IJssel landscape that prevail. Later, the colors of Amsterdam and Leiden impressionism are added.
The colorful, impressionistic cityscapes and atmospheric water landscapes in watercolor and oil by Vreedenburgh quickly became popular. They sold well and the family could make a living on it. From a description of his pasture landscapes by the critic H. van Calker one can infer why: 'The pasture landscape in the glow of the radiant sun, when the blue sky is clear and deeply reflected in the water, the colorful cows form strong contrasts of color against the light. and the fences are clearly outlined against the opulence of green '. The canals and water of Amsterdam in particular were an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the painter. Van Calker says of the mood on one of these townscapes: '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 boats lie quietly moored on the side'.
But above all, the water in the vicinity of the Gooi Vreedenburgh was drawn. There, the lake views emerged that offer a view of open water with boats. He often sailed with his family on the Loosdrechtse plassen, always accompanied by his sketchbook. Vreedenburgh also traveled abroad regularly, mostly to France and Italy. At a later age he made a tour of the Middle East on which his report with drawings and watercolors appeared in the Panorama Christmas Book of 1936. In 1937 Vreedenburgh was honored with a large solo exhibition in Kunstzaal Hamdorff in Laren, where all his paintings were sold, including also two works on Queen Wilhelmina.
Vreedenburgh was a gifted impressionist and eager artist, who left behind an extensive and captivating oeuvre with which he occupies a place of his own in art history.