Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhône returns to Arles

Jules Lemaire
Publié le 2 January 2024
Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhône returns to Arles

To celebrate 150 years of Impressionism, the Fondation Van Gogh is planning a special exhibition entitled "Van Gogh and the Stars", featuring Starry Night Over the Rhône, on loan from the Musée d'Orsay. Museum TV looks at the story behind the conception of this masterpiece.

One day, the artist decided to embark on a new painting with an original idea. One evening in 1888, Van Gogh wanted to paint the night, so he took his easel to the banks of the Rhône. However, on the riverbanks, streetlights do not yet exist! This is an important detail, as only the vault of heaven illuminates the landscape. As you can imagine, Van Gogh can't see a thing…

He then hung a small candle above his easel. This trick paid off, as Starry Night Over the Rhône is one of his greatest paintings.

The "Van Gogh and the stars" exhibition, to be held in Arles from June 1 to September 8, 2024, explores the 19th-century infatuation with astronomy among artists and scholars. The exhibition also features works by Edvard Munch, Robert Delaunay, Kasimir Malevitch, Georgia O'Keeffe, Helen Frankenthaler, Gustave Doré, Vassily Kandinsky and Jean-François Millet.