Vincent van Gogh in Arles (1888-1889)

Van Gogh escaped the busy life of Paris and moved more south, to Arles. In Arles, he rented a studio in the now-famous Yellow House. Vincent described the studio in a letter to his brother Theo:

“In the right-wing of this complex; where I will be living there are four rooms, actually two with two cabinets. The building is yellow on the outside and whitewashed inside. I will be paying 15 francs a month”.

At first, Vincent didn’t live in the Yellow House, he used it as a studio to paint models and show his paintings to the public. Later on, when his friend Gauguin moved to Arles they moved into the Yellow House.

The Yellow House was bombed during World War II, but the building has been rebuilt. The current occupant is a supermarket:

The nature and the flowering trees in the South inspired Vincent enormously and he urged his brother to send him to paint as soon as possible. So he did. Vincent was inspired by the spring in the south of France and painted particularly outside with varying styles, colors, and techniques. Vincent also painted more local landscapes that can still be recognized, like the Langlois Bridge in Arles and The café terrace.

Gauguin joined Vincent in Arles in the Yellow House in October 1889. As soon as Vincent found out that Gauguin was moving to Arles he started redecorating the guestroom and painted a painting of sunflowers which he used to decorate the guestroom for Gauguin. Gauguin made this painting of Vincent in Arles while he was painting a sunflower painting.

Gauguin abruptly departed in late December 1888 after a huge fight with Vincent. They had an inexplicable love-hate relationship. Mutual problems such as poorness and the drinking problems of Vincent eventually led to a break between Vincent and Gauguin. This break-up caused a deep depression for Vincent. He was dead poor, felt misunderstood, and has lost a friend. When he heard about the departure of Van Gogh, he cut off a piece of his ear with a razor.

Shortly after Gauguin’s departure, Vincent is hospitalized in Arles. In the hospital, he paints the hospital gardens. The hospital gardens are open to the public and the pictures show a great resemblance with Vincent’s paintings. After a short stay in the hospital, Vincent leaves Arles to go to the Saint-Remy Asylum.

Joseph Roulin was Vincent’s most dedicated friend during his stay in Arles, France. Shortly after Vincent had cut off a piece of his ear, Roulin got a better job at the post office of Marseille and moved with his family in 1889. Vincent painted his portrait in 1888: