Van Gogh’s Yellow House – Arles: Then and now

In May 1888 Vincent Van Gogh rented several rooms at 2 Place Lamartine, near the railway bridges in Arles. He shared the house with Gauguin from late October that year.

“My house here is painted the yellow colour of fresh butter. The shutters a garish green. It is bathed in sunlight and stands on a square with a garden of verdant plane trees, rose laurels and acacias. Inside, I am able to live and breathe to contemplate and paint.”

This was the house of the famous bedroom painting and the chair with pipe.

Van Gogh's yellow House

Van Gogh’s yellow House [source: Wikipedia]

The painting was done in September 1888 – we were there in October 2013 and found the light similar to that discovered by Van Gogh.

The square is still there – complete with its plane trees, but the house was bombed on 25 June 1944 during the liberation of Arles, and demolished shortly afterwards. However, as you can see, the building behind survives to this day along with the railway bridges in the background. The bridges are easily recognised from Van Gogh’s depiction of them.

Site of Yellow House

Site of Yellow House

The house was just two minutes’ walk from the site where he painted the ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’. If you turn around from where this photo was taken you will find a modern ‘Monoprix’ supermarket – so if you are looking for the location, just look for the Monoprix first and it is just across the road.

The Yellow House painting currently hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

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4 Responses to Van Gogh’s Yellow House – Arles: Then and now

  1. Verena says:

    Your illustrated ‘live education’ is much more interesting than reading all those facts in a book. I’m looking forward to another ‘episode’!

    Thank you, Verena

    • Thanks Verena – At one level I hope it is in part capturing the spirit of the original ‘Grand Tour’ – a way of developing a language of seeing and a way of thinking about the cultures we encounter and how each such encounter says something to us about our own culture. And there are many more episodes to come ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers – Jerry

  2. Christina says:

    I didn’t know the Yellow House wasn’t there any more, quel dommage. Van Gogh was probably the first painter I got passionate about in my early teens and I still love his work. Thank you for this blog – it has been fascinating and a great way to see parts of the world I have no hope of seeing for myself.

    • Thanks Chris – yes I had previously thought it was still there but it turns out the bedroom that can be photographed is a reconstruction in a different building altogether! I’m so pleased you are enjoying the blog – we are still writing up the trip – we saw so many things it was quite a remarkable journey both physically and in the mind ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers – Jerry

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