About Vincent Van Gogh’s 3 Yellow Bedroom Paintings

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 his 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

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 a blue color.

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 around the world 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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Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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About Vincent Van Gogh’s 3 Yellow Bedroom Paintings