The interior depicted is the Café de la Gare, 30 Place Lamartine, run by Joseph-Michel and his wife Marie Ginoux, who in November 1888 posed for Van Gogh’s and Gauguin’s Arlésienne; a bit later, Joseph Ginoux evidently posed for both artists, too.
In a letter to his brother written from Arles in the south of France, van Gogh described the Café de l’Alcazar, where he took his meals, as “blood red and dull yellow with a green billiard table in the center, four lemon yellow lamps with an orange and green glow. Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most disparate reds and greens.” The clashing colors were also meant to express the “terrible passions of humanity” found in this all-night haunt, populated by vagrants and prostitutes. Van Gogh also felt that colors took on an intriguing quality at night, especially by gaslight: in this painting, he wanted to show how “the white clothing of the café owner, keeping watch in a corner of this furnace, becomes lemon yellow, pale and luminous green.
Artist : Vincent van Gogh
Year : 1888
Type : Oil on canvas
Dimensions : 72.4 cm × 92.1 cm (28.5 in × 36.3 in)
Location : Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven