In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh arrived in Arles, France with the hope of creating a collective of like-minded painters, such as Paul Gauguin. One evening in a local cafe, the Cafe de la Gare, inspired the work of art to come.
On September 1888, Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo:
"I have painted a view of the café in the evening, with little lamps and the décor on a black background,"
He hoped to capture the essence of the nightlife of the little café, which was bustling with activity despite its humble surroundings. He wrote to his brother again on September 21,
"I have painted it as one sees it in the darkness when one passes the café after midnight."
The painting features a dark earthly color palette and a careful composition of light created by lamps that show the nightlife inside the café. The painting was not immediately appreciated by the art world but found recognition later on. In 2003, the painting had been authenticated and authenticated by experts as a real Van Gogh and went on to be sold for $24 million.
Today, "Cafe at Night" remains a masterpiece of Van Gogh's later works. His use of light and color, even in the darkness, conveys the liveliness of the cafe and its atmosphere. It continues to be one of the most famous and beloved works of Vincent Van Gogh.