Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890): Café Terrace at Night6/10/2021, 9:14:35 AM
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890): Café Terrace at Night (Terrace of the café on the Place du Forum in Arles in the evening), 1888, Oil on canvas, 80.7 × 65.3 cm (31.8 in × 25.7 in), Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Nederlands ... . . . 'Café Terrace at Night' is the first painting in which Van Gogh used starry backgrounds. The painting is not signed, but described and mentioned in three letters. There is also a large pen drawing of the composition. The most eye-catching aspect is the sharp contrast between the warm yellow, green and orange colours under the marquise and the deep blue of the starry sky, which is reinforced by the dark blue of the houses in the background. Van Gogh was pleased with the effect. After finishing the painting, on September 16, 1888 he wrote a letter to his sister Wil, expressing his enthusiasm: "I was only interrupted by my work on a new painting representing the exterior of a night café. On the terrace there are small figures of people drinking. An immense yellow lantern illuminates the terrace, the facade, the side walk and even casts light on the paving stones of the road which take a pinkish violet tone. The gables of the houses, like a fading road below a blue sky studded with stars, are dark blue or violet with a green tree. Here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colours itself sulfur pale yellow and citron green. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot. Normally, one draws and paints the painting during the daytime after the sketch. But I like to paint the thing immediately. It is true that in the darkness I can take a blue for a green, a blue lilac for a pink lilac, since it is hard to distinguish the quality of the tone. But it is the only way to get away from our conventional night with poor pale whitish light, while even a simple candle already provides us with the richest of yellows and oranges."