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