Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Arles, November 1888
oil on canvas,
90.5 cm x 72.7 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
This painting of Paul Gauguin's chair is a 'portrait' of Van Gogh's friend and fellow artist. The modern novels and burning candle on the green seat cushion symbolize the character of the absent painter.
Using mainly red and green hues, Van Gogh tried to suggest the mood of night. He also painted a pendant of this work with a daytime atmosphere: his own simple peasant chair in bright yellow and blue. The two paintings represent the different personalities of the two artists, who quarrelled and went their separate ways soon afterwards.
Van Gogh skilfully captured the bluish shadows and reflected light on the polished wood of the chair. These were created by the gas lighting (a gas lamp can be seen in the background).