The original “tortured artist,” Vincent van Gogh, painted this chair during his good friend and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin’s, visit to his Yellow House in Arles, France, a place that van Gogh dearly hoped would become and artists’ collective someday. This empty chair was perhaps an omen because the two artists only lived and worked together for two months before they fought bitterly, van Gogh cut off his own ear, and Gauguin departed.
This painting of a chair is a study of form and color. Inspired by the Japanese Prints that the van Gogh saw in Paris, the artist flattened out the planes of the chair to fill the space of the canvas. As is typical for van Gogh, the color is a study of complementary aqua greens and rusty reds that clash in the shadows cast by the orange-yellow glow of the lamplight and lit candle in the chair.