GOGH, Vincent van
(b. 1853, Groot Zundert, d. 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise)

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles

October 1888, Arles
Oil on canvas, 72 x 90 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Catalogue numbers: F 482, JH 1608.

In August and September 1888, van Gogh executed four paintings depicting sunflowers in a vase. He intended to decorate a room in the house, the so-called Yellow House, that he rent in Arles. He also painted a portrait of his bedroom in the Yellow House as part of the projected decoration of the house with works which would show Gauguin what he had been doing.

Powerful effects of immediacy and invitation were achieved in the painting by the deviation from rigorous geometric perspective. The spatial effect of the relationship between the objects in the painting and the position in which we as spectators are placed has been perceptively described as 'phenomenological space', that is, spatial relations as we experience and remember them rather than as they are conventionally represented in paintings made according to the geometric perspective systems used by artists since the Renaissance. Thus, in addition to exploiting the expressive possibilities of colour, van Gogh was investigating the expressive possibilities of new representations of space.