Café Terrace at Night, also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, is an oil painting executed by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh while at Arles, France,
in mid-September 1888. The painting is not signed, but described and mentioned by the artist in three letters.
After finishing Café Terrace at Night, Van Gogh wrote a letter to his sister expressing his enthusiasm:
I was interrupted precisely by the work that a new painting of the outside of a café in the evening has been giving me these past few days.
On the terrace, there are little figures of people drinking.
A huge yellow lantern lights the terrace, the fa?ade, the pavement, and even projects light over the cobblestones of the street, which takes on a violet-pink tinge.
The gables of the houses on a street that leads away under the blue sky studded with stars are dark blue or violet, with a green tree.
Now there’s a painting of night without black. With nothing but beautiful blue, violet and green,
and in these surroundings the lighted square is colored pale sulfur, lemon green. I enormously enjoy painting on the spot at night.
In the past they used to draw, and paint the picture from the drawing in the daytime. But I find that it suits me to paint the thing straightaway.
It’s quite true that I may take a blue for a green in the dark, a blue lilac for a pink lilac, since you can’t make out the nature of the tone clearly.
But it’s the only way of getting away from the conventional black night with a poor, pallid and whitish light, while in fact a mere candle by itself gives us the richest yellows and oranges.
You never told me if you had read Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-ami, and what you now think of his talent in general.
I say this because the beginning of Bel-ami is precisely the description of a starry night in Paris, with the lighted cafes of the boulevard, and it’s something like the same subject that I’ve painted just now.
Material: Stretched Canvas
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