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  • Writer's pictureNick Pike

New interpretation of Van Gogh's 'Cafe Terrace at Night' by Cotswold artist

'Van Gogh - Lads Night Out' - oil on canvas (106 x 86cm) is a closely researched reinterpretation of ‘Café Terrace at Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh. The painting depicts characters present around Vincent's home of Arles at this time; the artists, art dealers, poets, muses, absinthe drinkers, a brother, a doctor and the oldest person to have ever lived...

This artwork is a follow up to the 2017 painting 'Van Gogh & Gauguin - Lads Night In', my take on 'Bedroom at Arles' which was also displayed at Wilks and now available as a limited edition print.

Original painting - 'Cafe Terrace at Night' is an 1888 painting by Vincent Van Gogh whilst he was living at The Yellow House in Arles with Paul Gauguin. Though the two often painted together, their relationship was fraught with disagreements, culminating in Van Gogh threatening Gauguin with a razor.

'Van Gogh & Gauguin - Lads Night Out' In Detail...

Vincent Van Gogh in the leading role, clutches one of his paintings, whilst having a heated debate. This very important artwork 'The Red Vineyard' was unbelievably the only painting that Vincent actually sold during his life.

The supporting role of Paul Gauguin, shows the painter draping a coat around Adeline Ravoux. This was the daughter of Levert, who owned the Auberge Ravoux, now known as the 'Maison de Van Gogh', where Vincent lived and painted during the last 70 days of his life. Van Gogh is clearly not happy about something and protesting to Gauguin. Has Paul stolen the girl that Vincent has affections for (as alluded to in 'Loving Vincent')? Or is it frustration by the lack of art gallery interest in his paintings?

This leads us to Henri Toulouse-Lautrec... Van Gogh had introduced Toulouse-Lautrec to his brother, Theo, who was an art dealer and the first to represent Henri. In my painting, I have added these figures along with Pere Tanguy - also an art dealer. I created this meeting to show the huge interest in Toulouse-Lautrec's artwork at this point. Henri was a successful artist and well known for his poster work - particularly of The Moulin Rouge. I wonder whether Vincent was envious of Henri's success, considering the similarity of some of their artwork.

Back to 'The Red Vineyard' - whilst researching this painting, I discovered the buyer was Anna Boch; sister of Eugène - a fellow artist and poet whom Vincent painted a couple of times.

'The Absinthe Drinker' is a famous painting by Edgar Degas. I thought it fitting that this couple were hanging out at the cafe as Van Gogh and Gauguin were also fond of absinthe.

Agostina Segatori, who sits above Van Gogh in the painting, was a famous model with whom Vincent had a brief relationship with. She was painted as 'The Italian' by Édouard Manet in 1960 and 'Agostina' by Camille Corot in 1866.

Segatori was also the owner of Café du Tambourin and displayed a collection of Van Gogh's artwork at her establishment. Their partnership soured however and Agostina apparently retained these paintings improperly at the cafe.

Van Gogh's doctor, Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, sits above the featured artists and looks on wearily at what is unfolding outside the cafe. Maybe he's drunk too much, or maybe he's seen this play out too many times?

Whilst doing my research for this artwork, I discovered the oldest person that ever lived, Jeanne Louise Calment (who died aged 122), resided in Arles and was not only alive at the period of Cafe Terrace at Night but did in fact meet Van Gogh, she would have been around fifteen at the time. I decided to have Jeanne hoop rolling in the painting.

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