In 1887 Vincent van Gogh moved to Paris. The influence of Japanese woodprints and the impressionists made Van Gogh paint in a brighter style. He used wool in different colors to test combinations and save money on expensive paint.

In a letter to his sister Willemien in June 1888:

“...there are colours that make each other shine, that make a couple, complete each other like man and wife. Explaining the whole theory to you would take quite a lot of writing, but still, it could be done.”

Complementary colors that Van Gogh liked so much were the combinations of:
  • yellow (primary color) and purple (combination of primary colors blue and red)
  • blue (primary color) and orange (combination of primary colors red en yellow)
  • red (primary color) and green (combination of primary colors blue and yellow)

But the red paint was not stable at that time. So over the years some of Van Gogh’s paintings have changed.

His purple colors turned blue, orange changed into yellow or less bright orange and red paint changed into less bright red or even green and brown.

What were the original colors of Van Gogh’s bedroom?

In October 1888 Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo:

"The walls are of a pale violet. The floor — is of red tiles.” and "The doors lilac.”

The blanket is an interesting detail here. Van Gogh: "The blanket scarlet red.”. This color hasn’t changed much. Did he use another type of red paint here?
On the left we see the painting of Van Gogh’s bedroom that resides in the Art Institute of Chicago (Van Gogh painted three versions of his bedroom).

And on the right we see what the painting may have looked like according to Roy S. Berns and Brittany Cox from the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, Rochester Institute of Technology and Kelly Keegan from the Department of Conservation, the Art Institute of Chicago.

original colors of Van Gogh’s bedroom Van Gogh's Bedroom in today's colors. And on the right what its original colors may have been.

What about the colors of hand-painted replicas?

We try our best to paint van Gogh’s masterpieces as close to the originals.. as they appear now. Thanks to color stable synthetic paints these days we don’t have to worry about deteriorating colors like in van Gogh’s time.

In case you like to order a painting in its original colors as Van Gogh painted it between 1880 and 1890 we could do so. You may be the first one to see his bedroom as Van Gogh actually saw it.

You may also like to read:

Your Daily Dose of Van Gogh

What did Vincent van Gogh write on this day?

Find out in your FREE Van Gogh e-book.

Hundreds of questions answered by Van Gogh himself!

Free Van Gogh e-book
      29-05-2020 14:26     Comments ( 0 )
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