21 de novembro de 2011

Vincent Van Gogh - The Yellow House

The Yellow House - 1888
Van Gogh Museum - Amsterdam - Holland

"The subject is frightfully difficul, but that is just why I want to conquer it. It's terrific, these houses, yellow in the sun, and the incomparable freshness of the blue. And everywhere the ground is yellow too."
- Vincent on a letter to his brother Theo.

When Vincent van Gogh arrived at Arles it was snowing. So much for the warm and sunny south as described by Toulouse-Letrec. Arles was a small city with no more than 200.000 inhabitants. It had once been much grander. Julius Caesar brought it under Roman rule about 46 BC, and  it developed into one of the greatest centres of the Western Roman Empire, as is still evident from the amphitheatre (part ruined but still usable) and the remains of other Roman buildings, including the palace of Constantine. Arles never regained its ancien eminence, but in Vincent's time it was not just a sleepy little market town. The railway had reached it comparatively early, and many italien immigrants setled on nearby villages. When Vincent lived in Arles there was no tourists and the city had few amusements. Vincent found lodging in almost the first place he came to from the station, in an attic room of the Hotel-Restaurant Carrel. He soon started painting, founding on a small shop nearby all the paints and canvas he needed although pigments quality supplied in town were not as good as he wanted. Soon Vincent asked Theo to send him a large quantity of paints directly from Paris.

From his first week in Arles, Vincent had mentioned the desirability of having his own establishment. In May, of that year 1888, he rented the famous Yellow House, It was a two-up, two-down dwelling, one of an adjoining pair, whose twin pedimented facades, on the corner of the "Place Lamartine" just outside the city walls, faced one of the medieval gates. Van Gogh rented four rooms. Two large ones on the ground-floor to serve as atelier and kitchen, and, on the first floor, two smaller ones facing Place Lamartine. The window on the first floor near the corner with both shutters open is that Van Gogh's guest room, where Paul Gauguin lived for nine weeks from late October, 1888. Behind the next window, with one shutter closed, is Van Gogh's bedroom. The two small rooms at the rear were rented by Van Gogh at a later time. In a letter to his sister he described the house:

"My house here is painted in yellow colour of fresh butter on the outside with glanringly green shutters; it stands in the full sunlight in a square which has a green garden with plane trees, oleanders and acacias. And it is completely whitewashed inside, and the floor is made of red bricks. And over it there is the intensively blue sky. In this I can live and breath, meditate and paint".

Vincent intended to use the house as a studio and store, while making one room fit to sleep in. He spoke already of showing his friends'paintings there and later of persuading them to come and stay. Although his dream of an artists' community was one motive, Vincent's move was expedited by his dissatisfaction with his present circunstances in the Carrel Hotel. Not only did he have no proper studio, he believed that, in addition to the grudging service of which he complained, he was being overcharged. The rent for the Yellow House was 15 francs a month, a lot less than the 4 francs a day he paid to the Carrel.
On the building  painted pink, close to the left edge,Van Gogh used to have his meals It was run by Widow Venissac, who was also Van Gogh landlady, and who owned several of the other buildings depicted. 
Later, the building suffered various rebuilding, before it was severely damaged in a bombing raid, by the Allies, on June 25th, 1944. Later, it turn out to be demolished.

The "Yellow House" painting never left the artist's estate. Since 1962, it is in the possession of the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation, established by Vincent Willem van Gogh, the artist's nephew, and on permanent loan to the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam.
Source: net, Van Gogh Museum, Wikipedia

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