Cornelis Vreedenburgh was born on August 25, 1880 in the town of Woerden. Vreedenburgh’s father ran a studio in the town where he received his initial training. After studying with his father, he went on to study with Gerardu Johannes Roermeester, Willem Bastiaan Tholen and Paul Arntzenius. During the early years of his career, he regularly visited the interior lakes and broad rivers of the Netherlands with Tholen. Vreedenburgh found the outstretched skies and open lakes an ideal place for painting reflections on the water and for capturing stark contrasts. He produced a number of small, charming water scenes during these years and was able to develop his own personal style.
After Vreedenburgh’s marriage to the painter M. Schotel, they settled in Laren. He went on to enjoy a prosperous career and a relative amount of recognition. In 1920, he had the honor of escorting Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands around various painters’ studios in the Netherlands. Queen Wilhelmina also bought two paintings from him in 1937.
Vreedenburgh was a member of the artists association, Arti et Amicitae, St. Lucas and the Pulchri Studio. At his first exhibition with Arti, he received the Willem van Colleen prize, and while exhibiting with Pulchri, he received a three-year royal subsidiary and was congratulated by Maris himself. In the San Francisco exhibition, he won the silver medal, and in Arnhem, the bronze. Vreedenburgh died in 1946 right before his 66th birthday, and is buried at St. Janskerkhof in Laren.
Our painting, Canal Scene, is a charming landscape of a country house along a canal. On the opposite bank of the canal, the grassy bank flows gently into the horizon and distant townscape. Set between the docked boat and the house, a tree’s long feathery branches stretch up into the blue sky and billowing clouds. The clear, even light of the day fills the composition with a quiet calm as the occupant of the house goes about her household chores in the foreground. Vreedenburgh deftly portrays the subtle interplay of light and color as seen in the reflections on the water. He masterfully brings the soft palette and the harmony of patterns of light and shadow together in a rendering of serene tranquility and timeless beauty.