Café Table with absinthe, 1887

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Oil on Canvas, 46.5 X 33 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
  • F 339

Absinthe was popular with many artists, including Van Gogh, although it was a toxic beverage that cost some of them their lives. The exceptional color of a glass of absinthe was also a favorite subject for painters. Here, the light falling through the window causes the green-yellow drink to light up against the brown background.

To this still life Van Gogh has added a glimpse of the street outside the café. Some street furniture can be seen, together with passers-by moving beyond the frame. It is as if the picture is a chance snapshot of everyday reality – as if the viewer has taken the artist’s place at the café table.

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