About Vincent Van Gogh’s 3 Yellow Bedroom Paintings

Exploring Vincent Van Gogh’s 3 Yellow Bedroom Paintings

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Some of Vincent Van Gogh’s more iconic paintings are the paintings of his bedroom in the Yellow House in Arles, France. These paintings undoubtedly held special significance to him.

The subject of his bedroom was so important to him that Van Gogh was known to paint three paintings of his bedroom. He also wrote to his brother about the yellow house in Arles and his plan for the home and bedroom. He purposely wanted to have a bedroom that had simple decor and style.

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About Van Gogh’s Yellow House and Bedroom And His Bedroom Paintings

Until this Yellow House, Van Gogh had been living in a lot of guest houses that he said were “ruinous and depressing.” For him, the lovely yellow house on a corner street in Arles. France must have seemed like home.

In writing to his brother Theo in May 1888, he wrote:

“Ah, well — today I rented the right-hand wing of this building, which contains 4 rooms, or more precisely, two, with two little rooms. It’s painted yellow outside, whitewashed inside — in the full sunshine. I’ve rented it for 15 francs a month. Now what I’d like to do would be to furnish a room, the one on the first floor, to be able to sleep there. The studio, the store, will remain here for the whole of the campaign here in the south, and that way I have my independence from petty squabbles over guest-houses, which are ruinous and depress me.“

Van Gogh To His Brother Theo – May 1888

We learn from this letter about the house he rented and why the place was so important to him.

In another letter to his brother in September 1888, we learn how he plans to decorate his bedroom and other places in the yellow house in Arles, France.

“Now yesterday I worked at furnishing the house. Just as the postman and his wife told me, the two beds, if you want something sturdy, will come to 150 francs each. I found that everything they’d told me about prices was true. As a result I had to change tack, and this is what I did: I bought one bed in walnut and another in deal, which will be mine, and which I’ll paint later.
Then I bought linen for one of the beds, and I bought two palliasses. If Gauguin or somebody else were to come, there you are, his bed will be made in a minute. From the start, I wanted to arrange the house not just for myself but in such a way as to be able to put somebody up.
Naturally, that ate up most of my money. With what was left, I bought 12 chairs, a mirror, and some small indispensable things. Which in short means that next week I’ll be able to go and live there.
For putting somebody up, there’ll be the prettiest room upstairs, which I’ll try to make as nice as possible, like a woman’s boudoir, really artistic. Then there’ll be my own bedroom, which I’d like to be exceedingly simple, but the furniture square and broad.”

Vincent Van Gogh To his Brother Theo – September 1888

The postman and his wife that he spoke about were Joseph And Augustine Roulin.

Van Gogh mentioned that he bought 12 chairs. The symbolic reference to the number 12 may refer to the 12 apostles of Christ. Van Gogh believed that artists should live together like monks in a colony; his idea for the tiny yellow house was to have a kind of artist colony.

We also learn from his bedroom paintings that he wanted his room to be simple. Van Gogh made quite a few sketches from this bedroom but painted three major paintings at three different times.

Here are Van Gogh’s three major bedroom paintings.

The Bedroom, 1888 By Vincent Van Gogh, Located At Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

The Bedroom, 1888, By Vincent Van Gogh In The Amsterdam, Holland

Van Gogh painted his first bedroom in 1888, just after he moved into the Yellow House in Arles, France.

Van Gogh’s beloved yellow house in Arles, France, was one of the first places that felt like home to him. The bedroom painting shows how simple the room was and the bright color he used: it is believed the original painting had purple walls, but over time, the color has changed to blue.

Van Gogh spoke about how he had flattened the painting and purposely gave the bedroom a skewed angle so that the painting would resemble more of a Japanese woodblock print.

The Bedroom, 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh, Located At The Art Institute Of Chicago in Chicago, USA

The Bedroom, 1889, By Vincent Van Gogh At The Art Institute Of Chicago

The second bedroom painting Van Gogh painted in 1889. He painted this painting as he was worried that this first painting had received water damage, so he wanted to repaint it.

This painting was painted when he was at the asylum in Saint-Remy in 1889. The painting is very similar to the first painting in the looks and style, but there are some slight differences in the execution where objects are placed in the room.

Because he took the time to repaint this painting, it shows how much he loved this bedroom at his yellow house in Arles, France.

The Bedroom, 1889 By Vincent Van Gogh, Located At The Musee d’ Orsay In Paris, France

The Bedroom, 1889, By Vincent Van Gogh At The Musee d’Orsay in Paris

The third painting of The Bedroom is a smaller version that was painted a few weeks after he painted the second painting of The Bedroom in 1889. This painting of The Bedroom is a smaller version of his second bedroom painting

This smaller bedroom version was painted as a gift for his mother and sister. The original of this painting ended up in Japan before World War II but was later sold to the National Museum of Musee d’Orsay in 1959 under the Treaty of Peace with Japan.

Three versions of Van Gogh’s bedroom of his yellow house in Arles are now being shown at three different museums worldwide in Holland, France, and the United States. Undoubtedly, the bedroom in his yellow house in Arles, France, had a special meaning to Vincent Van Gogh.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Van Gogh choose to paint his bedroom in the Yellow House in Arles?

Van Gogh was drawn to the symbolism of the color yellow, which represented warmth and positivity. The vibrant hue reflected his desire for an optimistic and uplifting living space.

What inspired Van Gogh to create three different paintings of his bedroom?

The bedroom held significant personal meaning for Van Gogh, representing a sanctuary of simplicity and peace. Painting it multiple times allowed him to explore different artistic expressions and perspectives.

What is the story behind Van Gogh’s correspondence with his brother about the yellow house in Arles?

Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, expressing his vision for the Yellow House and his plans for the home and bedroom. These letters provide insights into Van Gogh’s artistic intentions and personal aspirations.

Why did Van Gogh intentionally choose simple decor and style for his bedroom?

Van Gogh believed in the power of simplicity to create a harmonious and tranquil environment. The minimalistic decor in his bedroom reflected his pursuit of a peaceful and contemplative living space.

Are there any specific details or elements that differ among the three Yellow Bedroom paintings?

Yes, each painting exhibits subtle variations in color, composition, and brushstroke technique. These differences provide art enthusiasts with a fascinating glimpse into Van Gogh’s evolving artistic process.

What role does the Yellow House play in Van Gogh’s artistic journey?

The Yellow House in Arles was not only Van Gogh’s residence but also a source of inspiration for many of his works. It served as a backdrop for several of his masterpieces, capturing the essence of his time in southern France.

How did Van Gogh’s emotional state influence the depiction of his bedroom in the paintings?

Van Gogh’s emotional turbulence is often reflected in his art. The intensity of color and expressive brushstrokes in the Yellow Bedroom paintings may mirror his emotional state during the time of their creation.

What significance does the color yellow hold in Van Gogh’s overall body of work?

Yellow was a recurring and symbolic color in Van Gogh’s paintings. It represented a range of emotions, from joy and happiness to inner turmoil. The use of yellow in the bedroom paintings is consistent with his broader thematic exploration.

Claude Monet And His Art Work

Claude Monet was one of the more prolific and consistent Impressionism painters. He was a great believer in painting what is in nature and painting the changing light. He was an en Plein air painter. He is known for his strong and bold colors and short brush strokes.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Claude Monet And His Art Work.

Similarities Between Claude Debussy And Claude Monet

Claude Debussy is a musical composer. Claude Monet is an artist. They are both considered Impressionists and were not afraid to break from the tradition of their day to create something new. Both Debussy and Monet greatly influenced many artists that went after them.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Similarities Of Claude Debussy And Claude Monet.

What Does Japonisme Mean?

The term Japonisme is about the influence of Japanese art on European culture and arts. Most notably, the influence Japanese woodblock prints had on the Impression art movement. Many of the prominent artists from the Impressionism art movement were inspired by the Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock print artists.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Does Japonisme Mean?.

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