(b. 1848, Paris, d. 1903, Atuona, Hiva Oa, French Polynesia)

Night Café at Arles (Madame Ginoux)

Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm
Pushkin Museum, Moscow

In October 1888, Gauguin went to Arles on Vincent van Gogh's invitation, to try and build up an artists' community which van Gogh had long dreamed to create. Gauguin arrived on October 20. By December 25, all hopes had vanished, all plans were annihilated. There was the often told tragedy, van Gogh's abortive murderous attempt, when he slashed his own ear. Gauguin fled without ever seeing again his tempestuous friend, who was always to feel bitter about this.

At Arles, Gauguin and van Gogh worked on the same subjects. Café at Arles (Madame Ginoux) Gauguin re-interpreted Van Gogh's two paintings by joining together the Night Café and the Portrait of Madame Ginoux.

Early in November 1888 Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother that Gauguin was attempting a picture of the night café that he had already painted. Madame Ginoux was the proprietor of the Café de la Gare in Arles, where van Gogh had lodged upon his arrival in the Midi and the establishment was frequented by prostitutes, three of whom Gauguin has depicted in the background of his version.

Gauguin later reworked the canvas, adding the figure to the extreme lefthand side and the man conversing with the prostitutes. These two figures, and Madame Ginoux herself, had already been portrayed by Van Gogh in other works.

The work is signed in two places: on the marble table and on the edge of the billiard table.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.