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“Van Gogh’s Chair” by Vincent van Gogh

"Van Gogh's Chair" by Vincent van Gogh

“Van Gogh’s Chair” by Vincent van Gogh

“Van Gogh’s Chair” by Vincent van Gogh shows a rustic wooden chair, with a simple woven straw seat, on a tiled floor. On the chair seat are a pipe and a pouch of pipe tobacco.

This composition of a simple chair set on a bare floor of terracotta tiles became one of Van Gogh’s most iconic and recognizable images.

Van Gogh created this painting in late 1888, and soon after, his fellow artist, Paul Gauguin, joined him in Arles in the south of France.

The picture is one of a pair of chair paintings. The other chair was Gauguin’s Armchair, and they were to be hung together, with one chair turned to the right, the other to the left facing each other.

"Van Gogh's Chair" by Vincent van Gogh

“Gauguin’s Chair” by Vincent van Gogh – Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh’s chair is functional and straightforward; Gauguin’s is an elegant and finely carved armchair. The paintings of the chairs can be viewed as surrogate portraits, representing the personalities and artistic outlooks of the two artists.

Van Gogh’s chair, on which he placed his pipe and tobacco, is shown in bright daylight. Gauguin’s, with two novels on its seat, was painted at night and is illuminated by a candle and gaslight.

In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles and the Yellow House. However, he had first to furnish it before he could fully move in, so he used it as a studio until his “Décorations” where complete.

He wanted a gallery to display his work, and he started a series of paintings in 1888. All the pictures were intended for the decoration of his room in the Yellow House that included:

The “Décoration” for the Yellow House was the main project Vincent van Gogh focused on in Arles, from August 1888 until his breakdown the day before Christmas.

This “Décoration” had no pre-defined form or size; it grew step by step, with the progress of his work.

Van Gogh starting with the Sunflowers, then portraits were included next, and by mid-September 1888, the idea took shape.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime and was considered a madman and a failure.

He created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life.

They were characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive, and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art.

Van Gogh’s Chair

  • Title:                  Van Gogh’s Chair
  • Also:                  Vincent’s chair with his pipe
  • Artist:                Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                  December 1888
  • Medium:           Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions       Height: 91.8 cm (36.1 in); Width: 73 cm (28.7 in)
  • Museum:           National Gallery

Gauguin’s Chair

  • Title:                  Gauguin’s Chair
  • Dutch:               De stoel van Gauguin
  • Artist:                Vincent van Gogh
  • Year:                  1888
  • Medium:           Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions       Height: 90.3 cm (35.5 in); Width: 72.5 cm (28.5 in)
  • Museum:           Van Gogh Museum

Chair, Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

Facts about Vincent van Gogh

  • Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands
  • Initially, van Gogh planned to be a pastor and worked as a lay preacher in Belgium. It was only on being let go from this job that he decided that his future lay in painting.
  • Van Gogh didn’t start painting until he was 27 years old.
  • Van Gogh never received any formal art training.
  • Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, worked in an art gallery and introduced van Gogh to many artworks.
  • Van Gogh visited many parts of Europe, including the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and England.
  • Japanese woodblock prints profoundly influenced Van Gogh. He collected pictures of Japanese woodblock prints, and he practiced making copies.
  • Van Gogh had several close relationships with many fellow artists, including Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard.
  • Van Gogh’s artistic career was only ten years.
  • Van Gogh was a prolific letter writer, especially to his brother.
  • He created over 900 paintings plus many more drawings and sketches.
  • He died at the age of 37
  • As a poor artist, van Gogh didn’t have money to pay for models, so he painted himself instead. He created hundreds of self-portraits.
  • Van Gogh considered himself and many of his paintings to be failures.
  • Van Gogh cut off his ear in 1888.
  • Experts believe that that Gaugin cut off Van Gogh’s ear, following a violent dispute and that they both conspired to blame it on van Gogh so that Gaugin would not be jailed.
  • Van Gogh wrapped up his removed ear and gave it to a prostitute in a nearby brothel.
  • Van Gogh suffered mental health challenges for many years, and in 1889 he voluntarily admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy.
  • Van Gogh spent a year in the hospital, from which he created some of his most well-known paintings.
  • Van Gogh spent his adult life in poverty, surviving on cheap food. His diet consisted mainly of bread and coffee; he drank alcohol excessively and always had his pipe in hand.
  • After leaving the asylum, Van Gogh’s mental health continued to deteriorate, and in 1890, he shot himself in the chest. He died two days later.
  • There is speculation that Van Gogh did not shoot himself but that he was shot in a prank that went wrong. Van Gogh protected the identity of who shot him, by claiming that he shot himself.
  • Only 37 years old when he died, he had just sold one painting in his lifetime.
  • On his deathbed, van Gogh’s last words to his brother were, “the sadness will last forever.”
  • Van Gogh’s brother died very soon after Van Gogh’s death.

VAN GOGH The Yellow Chair with Pipe

The life story of Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh Letters From The Yellow Chair

10 Amazing Facts about Van Gogh


“The best way to know God is to love many things.”
– Vincent van Gogh


Photo Credit: 1) Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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