‘The Bedroom’, 1888 – Vincent Van Gogh
In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh describes in detail his room in Arles that he was about to paint:
“This time it’s simply my bedroom, but the colour has to do the job here, and through its being simplified by giving a grander style to things, to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general. In short, looking at the painting should rest the mind, or rather, the imagination.
The walls are of a pale violet. The floor — is of red tiles.
The bedstead and the chairs are fresh butter yellow.
The sheet and the pillows very bright lemon green.
The bedspread scarlet red.
The window green.
The dressing table orange, the basin blue.
The doors lilac.
And that’s all — nothing in this bedroom, with its shutters closed.
The solidity of the furniture should also now express unshakeable repose.
Portraits on the wall, and a mirror and a hand-towel and some clothes.
The frame — as there’s no white in the painting — will be white.
This to take my revenge for the enforced rest that I was obliged to take…”
Barrington Barber informs us that one of portraits on the wall was of the Belgian poet Eugene Block and the other one was of the young lieutenant Milliet “whose success with the local women impressed Gogh.”