The Night Cafe


“Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.”–Charles Baudelaire

night cafeVincent van Gogh, The Night Café, 1888

“I have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green. The room is blood red and dark yellow with a green billiard table in the middle; there are four lemon-yellow lamps with a glow of orange and green. Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most alien reds and greens, in the figures of little sleeping hooligans, in the empty dreary room, in violet and blue. The blood-red and the yellow-green of the billiard table, for instance, contrast with the soft tender Louis XV green of the counter, on which there is a rose nosegay. The white clothes of the landlord, watchful in a corner of that furnace, turn lemon-yellow, or pale luminous green.”

“In my picture of the Night Café I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit a crime. So I have tried to express, as it were, the powers of darkness in a low public house, by soft Louis XV green and malachite, contrasting with yellow-green and harsh blue-greens, and all this in an atmosphere like a devil’s furnace, of pale sulphur. And all with an appearance of Japanese gaiety, and the good nature of Tartarin.”

“It is color not locally true from the point of view of the stereoscopic realist, but color to suggest the emotion of an ardent temperament.”

gauguinPaul Gauguin, Night Cafe in Arles (Madame Ginoux), 1888


About trueoutsider

I'm an artist.
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3 Responses to The Night Cafe

  1. segmation says:

    Night Cafe in Arles by Paul Gauguin is one of my favorites! Thanks for posting.

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Sure, Seg. Don’t mention it.

  3. Eric Wayne says:

    Man, those quotes are profound, and shed more light on the paintings. I’d read them both before, of course, but it was decades ago. I’m older now. I can appreciate the wisdom and breadth of understanding expressed by these artists.

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