It was autumn when Vincent Van Gogh first slept in the famous Yellow House and painted what has surely become the most famous bedroom in the history of art. Here are some curiosities about the painting “Vincent’s room in Arles”, defined by the Dutch artist himself as “one of the best” he had ever made. In an article in The Art Newspaper , Martin Bailey reconstructed the history of the famous painting. The Yellow House and the Bedroom
Van Gogh rented the Yellow House in Arles in May 1888, but it was unfurnished and was initially used only as a studio. In August, the painter bought two beds, one for himself and one for a guest, his colleague Paul Gauguin, who soon joined him for a turbulent nine-week stay, which ended with the traumatic ear accident. In mid-September, Van Gogh slept for the first time in his room: “I can live and breathe, think and paint” he joyfully wrote to his sister Wil.
It was in this room that Van Gogh produced some of his best paintings. From Arles he wrote that “the most beautiful paintings are those that one dreams of while smoking a pipe in one’s bed”. Undoubtedly it was here that he conceived the idea of ​​the Bedroom (1888) and, on October 16, I began to work on the iconic painting, with which he wanted to show his brother Theo his new home. I explain to Theo that “looking at the painting should rest the mind, or rather, the imagination”. To us, today, he gives us a look at the artist’s domestic life. The walls change color
Describing his work “Vincent’s Room in Arles”, Vincent wrote to Theo that the walls were “pale violet”. But over time, the color pigments deteriorated: the cochineal red in the purple mixture faded, leaving the walls of the bluish hue we can see today. Scholars at the Van Gogh Museum digitally created a recolored image of what the original painting of “Vincent’s Room in Arles” must have looked like.
In reality, Van Gogh’s purple walls represented a genuine artistic license. In fact, moving into the house, Vincent wrote: “outside and painted yellow, while the inside walls are whitewashed”. The lost bed
A few years ago, Martin Bailey reconstructed what happened to Van Gogh’s real bed, depicted in the painting. In June 1890 the bed had been taken apart and shipped from Arles to Auvers-sur-Oise, a village north of Paris where the artist was working. After Van Gogh’s suicide the following month, Theo inherits the bed. It then remained in his son’s house in Laren, near Amsterdam, until the end of the Second World War.
Theo’s nephew, Johan Van Gogh, said that in 1945 his father gave the bed to the victims of the war bombings who lived “somewhere in the Arnhem area” in the eastern Netherlands. Then Bailey contacted a local historian, who explained to him that the inhabitants of Laren had collected several loads of furniture to donate to Boxmeer, a small village 40km south of Arnhem.
The Boxmeer bed story was covered extensively by the Dutch media in 2016, and there was a remote hope that Van Gogh’s bed might jump out of some attic. Unfortunately, it was never found. But the main hotel in the city, the Riche, wanted to recreate the scene depicted in the famous painting. This is so that guests can at least dream of being transported back in time, to the time of the legendary painter.
Cecilia Mastrogiovanni

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