White House at Night Vincent van Gogh Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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White House at Night was painted in 1890 as part of a long series of paintings made in the weeks preceding his death. In this period, he completed about one painting every day.

This particular painting was made six weeks before he died, and it has been said to demonstrate his intense psychological problems at the time. The painting was made in the suburb of Auvers-sur-Oise, which is located to the northwest of Paris. After Vincent moved to Paris, he developed acquaintances in the art scene of the city, and they influenced his artwork. The common art style in the city at the time was impressionism, and Vincent ended up taking up this style instead of Dutch art forms. White House at Night featured many key aspects of impressionism art, including the use of lighter colours. Some of his trademark styles can also be seen in this image. For example, it has the familiar calm look on the woman’s face.

The painting also features a heavenly body which had long been a mystery. Astronomers from a Texas university examined Vincent’s letters and many other records to come, and they ended up determining that the body must be Venus. The painting seemed to have been done in the late evening, which is when this planet is visible. Since it was painted in June 16th, it was determined that the sky had cleared up after the season of unpleasant weather. The house depicted in the White House at Night is the same one which was painted in the Blossoming Chestnut Tree. Both paintings were made by Vincent van Gogh, but in the second one, the house is mostly covered by an English chestnut tree. It is interesting to note that the house in question is still standing to this day and can easily be seen on Google Maps. The painting was completed using the oil on canvas method.

Like many other paintings from Vincent, this one fell into the ownership of his sister when he died. By the 1920s, it was in the possession of Krebs, a German industrialist who also enjoyed collecting paintings. As Hitler rose to power, Krebs had to hide this painting since it would likely be destroyed by the Nazis. Krebs eventually died in 1941 and donated his collection to a cancer research foundation which is still in existence today. Since the White House at Night painting was not in his collection, most people thought it had been destroyed, but it resurfaced in the 1990s. Apparently, it had been stolen by the Soviets. The painting can now be viewed at Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.