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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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Vincent Van Gogh's The Yellow House is sometimes known as The Street.

In Dutch, it is Het gele huis. It is an 1888 painting with oil on canvas by the famous post-impressionist artist. The painting is currently on show at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The painting is not as well known as some of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings of the same period. The Yellow House is actually the right wing of a house on Place Lamartine, Arles, France. Vincent Van Gogh rented four rooms in the building in May 1888. These included two large rooms that served as a workshop, a kitchen as well as two smaller rooms that directly faced the Place Lamartine. Paul Gauguin stayed at the same time in one of the rooms in October 1888 for nine weeks.

As well as The Yellow House, the painting contains a smaller pink building to the left. This is said to be where Vincent Van Gogh had his meals during the time he rented the rooms in The Yellow House. This was a restaurant that was run by Widow Venissac. Widow Venissac was also Van Gogh's landlady. She also owned several other buildings on the street, which are depicted in Van Gogh's work.

On the right hand side of the painting, you can see the Avenue Montmajour which runs towards the two bridges used for a railway. One of the lines served as a connection to Lunel. Lunel is situated on the opposite bank of the Rhone river. The second line was operated by the Paris Lyon Mediterranee railway company. The painting also shows the pavement which goes around the gardens on Place Maritime. Significantly, you can also see a gas pipe which is what allowed Vincent Van Gogh to have a gaslight installed in his studio.

Van Gogh completed the painting in September 1888 and sent a sketch of the work to Theo, his brother. In the letter, Van Gogh talks of the colours of the buildings that he wished to depict in the painting, against the cobalt sky. Colour was extremely important to Van Gogh. Unfortunately, the house that was the main subject of Van Gogh's painting is no longer in existence. The street suffered heavy bombing during World War II and had to be demolished. However, even without the house the remainder of the street looks the same in the painting. A placard remains in place, reminding passers by of the yellow houses former importance.