The yellow house ('The street'), 1888
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
In May 1888, Van Gogh rented four rooms on the right-hand side of a house on the Place Lamartine in Arles. His living quarters were the ones with the green shutters. His bedroom lay beyond. Vincent had finally found a place where he could not only paint but also welcome his friends. His goal was to establish a “Studio of the South,” where he and like-minded artists could work together.
Just as he did in Nuenen and Paris, Van Gogh here depicts his own surroundings. To the left we see the restaurant where he usually took his meals. His friend, the postman Joseph Roulin, lived to the right, behind the first railroad bridge.
The view is also an exploration of color contrast: “What a powerful sight, those yellow houses in the sun and then the unforgettable clarity of the blue [sky],” he wrote to Theo in the letter that accompanied a drawing he had made after the painting.