Vincent Van Gogh was a famous Dutch painter who worked around the Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism era of art. He has done work in oil paints as well as watercolor covering landscapes, still-life, portraits, and self-portraits. His bold and expressive brush strokes are the key characteristics of his work. Though he is not with us anymore, what stays are his artworks, his lifelong love. 

One of his famous works rendered during his stay in Arles is the Yellow House. So, here are the 10 things I can vouch you didn’t know about the Yellow House:

1. He lived in the yellow house before painting it | Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh rented the part with green shutters in the Yellow House, on Palace Lamartine in Arles around May 1988. The two rooms on the ground floor were used as a studio and kitchen with two bedrooms on the first floor, one for himself and the other one for his friend, Paul Gauguin.

However, the house was bombarded during the second world war and therefore demolished. The palace is still in existence.

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2. He first drew sketches in his letters.

He wrote letters to his brother Theo describing the house with sketches. The house was elucidated as ‘it’s tremendous, the yellow houses in the sunlight and then the incomparable freshness of blue.’ The letters are still available to the public.

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3. The colors used in the painting were related to his medical condition.

Van Gosh was prescribed digitalis, a medicine, by his doctors that caused his Yellow vision, officially known as xanthosis. Many conjectures suggest that the Yellow House was also affected by it. Though the colors used in the painting, yellow and blue, harmonize well with each other.

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4. It is known by other names also.

The painting is popularly known as the ‘Yellow House’, however, it also has other names. These include ‘The Street’ and ‘The house and Its Environment.’

5. A unique technique was used in the painting | Vincent van Gogh

The painting was done with oil paints, Van Gogh applied watercolor on top of the oil paints. The technique, with his distinctive strokes, is one of the key features of the painting.

10 Things you did not know about the Yellow House by Vincent van Gogh - Sheet3

6. Vincent Van Gogh’s ear was severely injured in the house.

Paul Gauguin and Van Gogh were friends but frequently had fights. On 23 December 1888, both argued, and Van Gogh was left with a critical injury on his ear. Many historians had different speculations about the injury, some believed that it was done by himself, due to his worsening mental health, while others speculated that it was Gauguin’s doing. Theo’s forthcoming wedding was also speculated as one of the reasons.

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7. The injury had different meanings.

The extent of the injury is still unclear. Some theorize that only a part of his ear was cut off while others believe that it was the whole ear. Each of the above-stated cases has different meanings in the psychological aspect. If it was a part of the ear: it symbolizes a plea for help, but for the other case: it is intended for maximum damage or perhaps death.

8. He painted his famous painting in the yellow house.

Van Gogh had created many art pieces during his stay in Arles. His famous painting of the Sunflowers was one of the works he did in the Yellow house. The first two of the five paintings were hung in artist Paul Gauguin’s room in the house. One of the two loose copies is now exhibited at the Van Gogh Museum.


9. His deteriorating health became the reason to leave the Yellow house. 

Vincent Van Gogh was suffering from mental health problems that were evident from his letters to his brother, Theo. Several incidents that happened in the Yellow House led him to hospitalization. And with that, his stay at the Yellow house came to an end.


10. A recreation of the Yellow House | Vincent van Gogh

In 1932, Van Gogh’s friend, artist Paul Signac, recreated the ‘Yellow House’ in watercolor and named it ‘The house of Van Gogh.’ The painting had vibrant colors but the environment with the features remained the same. It can be seen as an expression of admiration for the artist.


Aarushi is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in architecture. She believeslife is about exploringand experiencing the beautiful world around us. She finds solace in penning down her thoughts. She wants to ‘malgudi’ng her way through every aspect of architecture.

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