Thursday, 23 April 2009

Van Gogh - The Night Cafe

Painted in 1888, This is the Cafe where Van Gogh lodged between May and September of 1888, he lodged here while his yellow house was being furnished.

Letters from Vincent Van Gogh to Theo Van Gogh concerning 'The Night Cafe'...

“I have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green. The room is blood red and dark yellow with a green billiard table in the middle; there are four lemon-yellow lamps with a glow of orange and green. Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most alien reds and greens, in the figures of little sleeping hooligans, in the empty dreary room, in violet and blue. The blood-red and the yellow-green of the billiard table, for instance, contrast with the soft tender Louis XV green of the counter, on which there is a rose nosegay. The white clothes of the landlord, watchful in a corner of that furnace, turn lemon-yellow, or pale luminous green. ” view letter here

The next day (September 9), he wrote Theo: "In my picture of the Night Café I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit a crime. So I have tried to express, as it were, the powers of darkness in a low public house, by soft Louis XV green and malachite, contrasting with yellow-green and harsh blue-greens, and all this in an atmosphere like a devil's furnace, of pale sulphur. And all with an appearance of Japanese gaiety, and the good nature of Tartarin."
view letter here
This is the sketch he sent to his brother.

Later in the year when Gaugin arrived in Arles he painted a portrait of the proprietor; Joseph Ginoux's wife Marie in the Cafe. Entitled Night Café at Arles...

Van Gogh also did a portrait of Marie Ginoux entitled 'L'Arlésienne'...

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