brocreate: 1888 Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-90) ~ The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum
After finishing the piece, he wrote to his sister:
“It is already a few days since I started writing this letter, and now I will continue it.
In point of fact I was interrupted these days by my toiling on a new picture representing the outside of a café at night. On the terrace there are the tiny figures of drinkers. An immense yellow lantern illuminates the terrace, the façade and the sidewalk, and even casts its light on the pavement of the streets, which takes a pinkish violet tone.
The gables of the houses in the street stretching away under a blue sky spangled with stars are dark blue or violet with a green tree. Here you have a night picture without black in it, done with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green, and lemon-yellow. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot. They used to draw and paint the picture in the daytime after the sketch. But I find satisfaction in painting the thing immediately.
Of course it’s true that in the dark I may mistake a blue for a green, a blue-lilac for a pink-lilac, for you cannot distinguish the quality of a hue very well. But it is the only way to get rid of the conventional night scenes with their poor sallow whitish light, when even a simple candle gives us the richest yellows and orange tints.”