August Willem van Voorden was the son of a decorative house painter who taught him the basics of paint and painting. He went to the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam from 1893 until 1897 and later was a pupil of Jan de Jong and Alexander van Maasdijk. He lived and worked in Rotterdam for most of his life. Initially a decorative painter, he chose to be an art painter in 1903. Van Voorden is best known for his scenes of urban life in his hometown, filled with the daily activities of ordinary people. He was influenced by the works of the Impressionist George Hendrik Breitner and was often referred to as the ‘Breitner of Rotterdam’. Van Voorden was a member of the artist association Haagse Kunstkring in The Hague and Arti et Aicitiae in Amsterdam. In his work he chose for bright impressionistic colours as a counterweight for the grey hues normally associated with Dutch cityscapes. He died of undisclosed causes just short of his fortieth birthday.