According to the RKD he was a member of the same "school" or artistic style as Pieter de Hooch, showing simple intimate scenes of daily life in towns, often including studies in perspective. Though no evidence for a specific "school" exists, the center of influence seems to have been in the artistic centers of Haarlem and Delft, for artists born during the years 1620-1630. The painters listed by the RKD in this category are Esaias Boursse, Hendrick van der Burgh, Pieter de Hooch, Pieter Janssens Elinga, Cornelis de Man, Hendrick ten Oever, and Jacob Vrel.
Vrel's birthplace is unknown but he is considered to have worked in Delft and Haarlem. He is also referred to as Jan instead of Jacob(us) and known alternative spellings of his surname are Frel, Frelle, Vreele, Vrelle, and Vriel. His works are sometimes confused with those by Esaias Boursse.
Among the public collections holding works by Jacob Vrel are:
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