Le café de nuit (The Night Café) Artist: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, active France, 1853–1890)


European Art

On view, 2nd floor, European Art

In a letter to his brother written from Arles in the south of France, van Gogh described the Café de l’Alcazar, where he took his meals, as “blood red and dull yellow with a green billiard table in the center, four lemon yellow lamps with an orange and green glow. Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most disparate reds and greens.” The clashing colors were also meant to express the “terrible passions of humanity” found in this all-night haunt, populated by vagrants and prostitutes. Van Gogh also felt that colors took on an intriguing quality at night, especially by gaslight: in this painting, he wanted to show how “the white clothing of the café owner, keeping watch in a corner of this furnace, becomes lemon yellow, pale and luminous green.”


Oil on canvas


28 1/2 × 36 1/4 in. (72.4 × 92.1 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Theo van Gogh (1857–1891), Paris, 1889; by descent to Johanna van Gogh-Bonger (1862–1925), Amsterdam, 1891; sold to Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1907. Sale, The Golden Fleece, Moscow, April–May 1908; sold to Ivan Abramovich Morozov (1871–1921), Moscow, 1908; transferred to the Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow, 1919; acquired by Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; with Knoedler and Company, New York, by 1933; sold to Stephen Carlton Clark (1882–1960), New York, 1933; bequeathed to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1961
  • "Van Gogh Worldwide," https://www.vangoghworldwide.org/ (accessed 9/28/2023), https://www.vangoghworldwide.org/artwork/F463
  • James Prosek and Edith Devaney, James Prosek: Art, Artifact, Artifice, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2020), 129, 135, pl. 114
  • Walter Feilchenfeldt, Vincent van Gogh: The Years in France, Complete Paintings 1886–1890, II (London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2013), 160; 342, ill
  • Natalya Semyonova and Nicolas V. Iljine, eds., Selling Russia's Treasures, The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art, 1917–1938 (New York: MTA Publishing, 2013), 234–235, ill
  • Arthur P. Shimamura, Experiencing Art: In the Brain of the Beholder (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 83, fig. 4.6
  • Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Nineteenth-Century European Art, ed. Sarah Touborg (Boston: Laurence King Publishing Ltd., 2012), 435
  • Carlos Bosch, El Billar No Es De Vagos: Ciencia, Juegos y Diversion (San Diego: El Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2010), ill
  • John Barber, The Road from Eden: Studies in Christianity and Culture (New York: Academica Press, 2008),
  • Pericles Lewis, The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism, First (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007),
  • Carol L. Troyen et al., Edward Hopper, exh. cat. (Verona, Italy: MFA Publications, 2007), 199, no. 74, ill
  • H. Anna Suh, Vincent van Gogh: A Self-Portrait in Art and Letters, First (New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2006),
  • Michael Conforti et al., The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings, exh. cat. (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006), 156, 181–83, 248, 316, 328, no. 144, fig. 149, 152
  • Marieke van den Doel, The Learned Eye: Regarding Art, Theory, and the Artist's Reputation (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005), 100
  • Van Gogh's Van Goghs: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, exh. cat. (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1998), 103–104, fig. 29
  • Richard Muhlberger, The Unseen van Gogh (Cobb, Calif.: First Glance Books, 1998), 67–69, ill
  • Jan Hulsker, The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches (Amsterdam: J. M. Meulenhoff, 1996), 360–61, no. 1575, ill
  • Matthias Arnold, Vincent van Gogh: Werk und Wirkung (Munich: Kinder, 1995), 317–318, ill
  • Stephen F. Eisenman, 19th Century Art: A Critical History (London: Thames and Hudson, 1994), 299–300, ill
  • Antonin Artaud, Van Gogh le suicide de la societe (Paris: Gallimard, 1990), 56–59, ill
  • Melissa McQuillan, Vincent van Gogh (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1989), 63–64, fig. 54
  • Erkki Kivalo, Taiteilija ja hanen sairautensa: Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890 (Helsingissa: Otava, 1989), fig. pl. 18
  • Ronald Pickvance, Van Gogh in Arles (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1984), 174–6, ill
  • John Rewald, Post-Impressionism from Van Gogh to Gauguin (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1982), 209–211, ill
  • Andrew Carnduff Ritchie and Katherine Neilson, Selected Paintings and Sculpture from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972), no. 72, ill
  • Francoise Forster-Hahn, French and School of Paris Paintings in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1968), 11–13
  • "Recent Gifts and Purchases," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 28 (December 1962), 48
  • "La Chronique des Arts," Gazette des Beaux-Arts (February 1962), 47, fig. no. 157
  • "Yale Exhibits Clark Bequest," Art Journal 21 (1961–1962), 118, ill
  • "Accessions of American and Canadian Museums," Art Quarterly 24 (1961), 400, ill
  • Kurt Badt, Die Farbenlehre van Goghs (Cologne: Verlag M. DuMont Schauberg Koln, 1961), 125, 126, 128, fig. pl. 19
  • Vincent van Gogh, The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, 3 (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1959), 1-3, 28–29, no. xv-xvi, 518, 533, 534, 605
  • J. Vinchon, "Les Hommes et paysages de Vincent van Gogh," Aesculape (March 1957), 29, ill
  • John Rewald, Post-Impressionism from van Gogh to Gauguin (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1956), 233–234, ill
  • A Collector's Taste: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark; A Benefit Exhibition of Paintings [ . . . ], exh. cat. (New York: Knoedler and Company, 1954), no. no. 18 [ill.]
  • A Collectors Taste: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark, exh. cat. (New York: M. Knoedler & Co., 1954), no. 18
  • Charles Estienne, Van Gogh (Geneva: Skira, 1953), 63, ill
  • Carl Nordenfalk, The Life and Work of Van Gogh (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), 148, fig. 45
  • Marco Valsecchi, Van Gogh (Milan: A. Pizzi, 1952), fig. pl. 36
  • Jacques Laprade, Van Gogh (Paris: Editions Aimery Somogy, 1951), fig. pl. 50
  • Jean Leymarie, Van Gogh (Paris: Éditions Pierre Tisné, 1951), 96, ill
  • Jean Seznec, "Literary Inspiration in Van Gogh," The Magazine of Art 43 (1950), 286, ill
  • Raymond Cogniat, French Painting at the Time of the Impressionists (London: Hyperion Press, 1950), 113, ill
  • Georg Schmidt, Van Gogh (Bern: A. Scherz, 1947), 24, fig. 30
  • Pierre Courthion, Van Gogh raconté par lui-même et par ses amis (Geneva: P. Cailler, 1947), opposite page 112, ill
  • Louis Hautecoeur, Van Gogh (Monaco: Les Documents d'Art, 1946), fig. pl.72
  • Edward Alden Jewell, Vincent Van Gogh (London: Hyperion Press, 1946), 32, ill
  • Edward Alden Jewell, French Impressionists and Their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections (New York: Hyperion Press, 1944), 186, ill
  • Alessandro Parronchi, Van Gogh (Florence: Centro Italiano Editoriale Librario, 1944), fig. 17
  • Christian Zervos, Histoire de l'art contemporain (Paris: Éditions Cahiers d'Art, 1938), 90, ill
  • W. Scherjon and J. de Gruyter, Vincent van Gogh's Great Period: Arles, St. Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise (Amsterdam: De Spieghel Ltd. Amsterdam Holland, 1937), 108–09, fig. no. 83
  • Marco Valsecchi, Vincent Van Gogh. Arte Moderna Straniera N. 6 (Milan: Libreria Antiquaria Hoepli, 1936), fig. pl. X
  • Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Vincent van Gogh: with an introduction and notes selected from the letters of the artist, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1935), no. 34
  • Catalogue of a Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, exh. cat. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1934), 48, no. 312
  • Boris Ternovets, Modern French Colorplates (Moscow: Museum of Modern Western Art, 1933), fig. no. 2
  • John Becker, "The Museum of Modern Western Painting," Creative Art 10 (March 1932), 199
  • Harry Adsit Bull, "Modern French Paintings in Moscow," International Studio 97 (October 1930), 25
  • Jacob Baart de La Faille, L`Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh, Catalogue Raisonne (Paris: Edition G. van Oest, 1928), p. 131, fig. no. 463
  • Boris Ternovets, "Le Musee d'Art Moderne de Moscou," L'Amour de l'Art (December 1925), 474
  • Bernheim-Jeune, "Les grands collectionneurs, III, M. Ivan Morosoff," Bulletin de la Vie Artistique 1 (May 15, 1920), 330
  • Arthur Jerome Eddy, Cubists and Post-Impressionism (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1914), ill. opposite p. 56
  • "An Account of the Morozov Collection," Apollon (1912), fig. nos. 3-4
Object copyright
Additional information


[LR] "Vincent / le cafe de nuit"

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

View IIIF manifest

The International Image Interoperability Framework, or IIIF, is an open standard for delivering high-quality, attributed digital objects online at scale. Visit iiif.io to learn more

Linked Art

API response for this object

Linked Art is a Community working together to create a shared Model based on Linked Open Data to describe Art.