In mid September 1888 Vincent Van Gogh painted one of his most iconic scenes – Café Terrace at Night. Also known as – Café Terrace on the Place du Forum the painting now forms part of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. Today, visitors to Place de Forum in the Provençal town of Arles can still stand in the exact location where Vincent set up his easel all those years ago.
Vincent, along with others of the impressionist and post-impressionist genre, was infatuated with colour and the effect that light had on it. He once was quoted as saying the;
“The colours of the evening are as vivid as the colours of the day”
Nothing proves his point more than Café Terrace at Night. After completing the painting, Vincent wrote a letter to his sister where he says;
“Here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colours itself sulphur pale yellow and citron green”
When exhibited for the first time the painting was named – Coffeehouse in the Evening, but was later changed to its present name. The painting was important in Vincent’s professional development as it was the first of a series of paintings which were done at night, including Starry Night over the Rhone which was created a year later.