At the end of October 1888, the painter Gauguin arrived in Arles to join Van Gogh at the Yellow House, where Vincent wanted to start his Atelier du Midi. During this period he painted Gauguins’ chair, as well as his own chair. These works are very different, like the characters of Van Gogh and Gauguin.
This painting has some great symbolic undercurrents. Gauguin’s chair looks feminine because of the curved arms and the decoration. It gives a softer look, like the character of Gauguin. The burning candle on Gauguin’s chair signifies the flames of artistic genius.
The differences between the two chairs symbolize the differences between the two artists. The chair itself and the color scheme show the essence of Vincent’s art, simple and plain. Vincent was a realist who preferred to paint the world as he saw it. (Of course, this vision was transformed by his artistic sensibility and state of mind). Gauguin’s chair is more decorated and shows Gauguin’s way of painting. Gauguin created figures and shapes out of his imagination. He often used exotic colors and thick, flatforms.
Current Location: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands