The first painting of Van Gogh’s to feature his remarkable rendering of starry skies; Café Terrace on the Place du Forum (1888) was painted in Arles after a long summer working on his fraught reproductions of the sun-drenched fields of Southern France.
The artist’s style of the period demanded first capturing the outlines of scenes in the open air, allowing the vast opportunity for experimentation with balance and contrast when finishing the canvas. Van Gogh described his astounding work as "a night picture without any black in it” and began to refine his night palette right up to the culmination of his Starry Night paintings. The bright silhouettes of the gentle Café scene appear to create and consolidate an entire world as the short medieval city-street trails off towards the blue midnight.
Having moved to Arles earlier in 1888 to recuperate from a range of ailments, Van Gogh proceeded to explore the winding city streets, the Mediterranean hues, and shifts of light, before the cataclysmic visit he received from his Paris-acquaintance, Paul Gauguin 1890. It appears that the painting of Café Terrace on the Place du Forum coincided with a period of positivity for the artist, as his creative output of the surrounding months shows a clear dedication towards seeing his works publicly exhibited.
As a Post-Impressionist, the light was essential – regularly portraying natural sunlight. In the case of Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum Van Gogh bathed the balcony of the café with a beautiful yellow and green artificial lighting, in contrast with the shinning blue starry sky. The illuminated scene shows many people walking on the street. The blue and black houses get darker as they move away from the viewer. The painting is detailed and brings a warm ambiance.
Shortly after finishing his work on the night scene, Van Gogh described his enthusiasm for the piece in a letter to his sister. In the letter, he clarified his joy at his faithful reproduction of his vision of the yellow lanterns, the etched shade of the paving stones, the violet and the green of the night, and the variable impressions of light. For an artist whose life was so shrouded in the darkness of doubt and depression, his starry-night scenes are remarkable shards of light in the gloom of night.
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Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.
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