Vincent van Gogh arrived in Arles, in the south of France, in 1888, hoping to establish an artists' colony there. During the next few years, Van Gogh experienced the most intensely productive period of his life, painting some 400 works, including several versions of his blazing Sunflowers, his timeless Night CafÃÂ©, living landscapes, portraits, and brilliant still life.
The nightlife in Arels brought out the worst of company, alcoholics, prostitutes, and the homeless. Van Gogh, the poor struggling artist, felt quite at home with this company. One of the meeting places was CafÃÂ© de la Gare, where Van Gogh rented a room. Van Gogh wanted to get back at the owner for paying rent, so he painted a picture of the cafÃÂ©, trying to capture the dirty aspects of the cafÃÂ©.
Van Gogh used blood red and green, contrasting colors, to express his feelings about the cafÃÂ©. The picture's large blocks of pure, flat color anticipate the later German movement of Expressionism in many ways (Cutts & Smith 90).
With Van Gogh's trademark brushstrokes, he is able to give the illusion that the floor and the pool table are scuffed up from the many years of wear and tear. There is a feeling when looking at the floor that the splinters are ready to pierce one's bare skin. The lamps that give off an almost tangible, luminous energy add to the overall sense that, as Ban Gogh himself so aptly put it: "It is the delirium tremens in full swing."(Cutts & Smith90) Van Gogh observes the people with no moral judgment as he always does. The main figure in this painting is the figure next to the pool table. This is the owner of the cafÃÂ©. He shows the owner's face with no expression.
At CafÃÂ© de la Gare, Van...