Last weekend I had the privilege of viewing Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles” at the Norton Simon Museum of art in Pasadena. This is the 2nd version of this painting which is on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago. There are three authentic versions of the Bedroom paintings described in his letters to his brother Theo. The paintings are easily discernible from one another by the pictures on the wall to the right of the bed. The paintings depicts van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles, France, known as the Yellow House.
In April of 1889, van Gogh sent the initial version to his brother regretting that it had been damaged by the flood of the Rhône while he was in the hospital in Arles. His brother Theo proposed to have it relined and sent back to him in order to copy it. This “repetition” in original scale was painted in September of 1889. Both paintings were then sent back to Theo.
Later in the summer of 1889, Van Gogh decided to redo some of his best compositions in a smaller size for his mother and sister. The Bedroom in Arles was amongst the subjects he chose to recreate, this is how he ended up with three versions.