Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh

Cafe Terrace at Night

Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh

Painting Details

Artist: Vincent van Gogh
Title and Year: Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888
Size: 81 x 65.5cm - 31 x 26 Inches (approx)
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Collection: Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands
Subject: Street scene


Vincent van Gogh painted several night scenes and became fascinated with depicting the stars and the light effects of the night. Van Gogh has achieved an effect of luminosity with the use of contrasting colors and tones. The darks compliment the lights, the blues intensify the oranges, and the purples bring out the yellows.

Van Gogh wrote about the Cafe Terrace at Night painting in a letter to his sister, saying "Here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colors itself sulfur pale yellow and citron green. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot. Normally, one draws and paints the painting during the daytime after the sketch. But I like to paint the thing immediately.
It is true that in the darkness I can take a blue for a green, a blue lilac for a pink lilac, since it is hard to distinguish the quality of the tone. But it is the only way to get away from our conventional night with poor pale whitish light, while even a simple candle already provides us with the richest of yellows and oranges."

The cafe still exists today and is a popular destination for those following the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh.

More information on

About AQ
Search for Quote
Social Media
Privacy Policy


Subscribe to the weekly Art Quotes newsletter to receive a couple inspirational arty quotes.

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Quote of the Moment

  • "The painter must enclose himself within his work; he must respond not with words, but with paintings."
    Paul Cezanne