Bedroom at Arles
|Bedroom at Arles|
|Type||Oil and Magna on canvas|
|Dimensions||320 cm × 420 cm (130 in × 170 in)|
Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection
Bedroom at Arles is a 1992 oil and Magna on canvas painting by Roy Lichtenstein based on the Bedroom in Arles series of paintings by Vincent van Gogh. It is the only quotation of another painting that Lichtenstein did of an interior. It is located on the Fitzhugh Farm in Maryland in the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection.
As of 18 August 2003[update], the painting was part of the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection housed at Fitzhugh Farm located an hour and a half north of Washington, DC. After Andrew Mellon and the original founders, the Meyerhoffs are the largest donors to the National Gallery of Art. The painting was on display at the National Gallery of art from October 1, 2009 through May 2, 2010. Drawings for the painting were donated by Lichtenstein's heirs and the Lichtenstein Foundation to the National Gallery of art in 2005.
Lichtenstein has updated the original work by van Gogh with contemporary chairs and replaced casual shirts with businessmen's white shirts. He uses Ben-Day dots on one wall and pays homage to Expressionism's woodcuts, using wavy lines on the floor. The painting is part of Lichtenstein's early 1990s domestic interiors phase, and is supposedly based on the Art Institute of Chicago-housed second version rather than the other two versions in the series. Lichtenstein dramatically enlarged the scale of van Gogh's work from 72 cm x 90 cm to 320 cm × 420 cm (130 in × 170 in) and changed the tone from rustic to bourgeois, using Mies van der Rohe-inspired bright yellow Barcelona chairs. In fact, Lichtenstein supposedly worked from a 1993 Vincent van Gogh Calendar that included the Art Institute version.
Lichtenstein says that he cleaned up Van Gogh's version and jokes that it would be to Van Gogh's liking, although he notes that the vast contrast between his cartoonish style and the original is in and of itself humorous. He notes that his work is meticulous, while Van Gogh's was spontaneous. He also notes that his translation is no more debasing to the master than were Pablo Picasso's translations of Diego Velázquez.
Carol Vogel of The New York Times described the work as a "humorous interpretation". Aleid Head describes the color selection, which includes acid yellow and bright turquoise, as garish. According to Diane Waldman of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the painting, which presents a pedestrian perspective, successfully distances his version from the original.
- Vogel, Carol (August 18, 2003). "An Art Collection Grows On a Maryland Farm". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- "Concept of Innovation Illuminates Meyerhoff Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, on View in National Gallery of Art, East Building, October 1, 2009 through May 2, 2010". National Gallery of Art. September 11, 2009. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- Vogel, Carol (April 8, 2005). "Inside Art". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- Dorsey, John (October 1, 1997). "He raised comics to high art Appreciation: A shy man, Roy Lichtenstein paid homage to the art of the past with his exuberant works". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
His "Bedroom at Arles" (1992), an updated version of van Gogh's famous 1888 painting of his bedroom, plays with the century between the two and shows how the past and present can be one. One wall and two pictures on another wall employ the Benday dots used in comic strips and by Lichtenstein. The floor's wavy lines recall the woodcuts of expressionists, who trace their lineage back to van Gogh. The earlier artist's rush seats have become 20th century tubular chairs, and van Gogh's floppy shirts and towel have become businessmen's white shirts and the towel as geometric abstraction. There are other differences, but the overall image is unmistakably, proudly indebted to van Gogh.
- Head, Aleid. "Bedroom Composition". Head for Art. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- Arnason, H. H.; Daniel Wheeler (revising author third edition) & Marla F. Prather (revising author, fourth edition) (1998). "Pop Art and Europe's New Realism". History of Modern Art: Painting • Sculpture • Architecture • Photography (fourth ed.). Harry N. Abrams, Inc. pp. 538–540. ISBN 0-8109-3439-6.
In the early 1990s, Lichtenstein made a series of large paintings of domestic interiors, some of them based on ads in the Yellow Pages. Bedroom at Arles (Color plate 308, page 530) clearly derives from Van Gogh's famous painting The Bedroom, at the Art Institute of Chicago, which Lictenstein knew through reproductions. Not only has he dramatically enlarged the scale of Van Gogh's canvas, but he has transformed the Dutchman's rustic bedroom into a modern bourgeois interior. For example, Van Gogh's cane-seated chairs have become bright yellow Barcelona chairs similar to those designed by architect Mies van der Rohe.
- Waldman, Diane (1993). "Interiors, 1991–93". Roy Lichtenstein. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. pp. 308–9. ISBN 0-89207-108-7.
However, in his Bedroom at Arles (fig. 238), 1992, based on a calendar reproduction of van Gogh's 1988 painting The Bedroom (fig. 240), this image has been reduced to the level of average middle-class taste. Today, we have grown accustomed to buying from mail-order catalogues, and we know van Gogh better from reproductions than from seeing the originals. Because Lichtenstein's version of van Gogh's Bedroom is much bigger than the original, its impact is enormous, but Lichtenstein's regularized forms and process colors have reduced the psychological intensity of van Gogh's vision. As in all Lichtenstein's paintings that are "copies" of works by other artists, this painting succeeds in conveying the distance between the original and a reproduction and the additional distance that he imposes on his version.
- Bader, Graham, ed. (2009). "A Review of My Work Since 1961—A Slide Presentation". Roy Lichtenstein: October Files. The MIT Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-262-51231-2.
I've cleaned his room up a little bit for him; and he'll be very happy...I've straightened his shirts and bought some new furniture...This is the only interior I have done from another painting. I think the contrast between my intention and Van Gogh's is so enormous that there is humor in that difference. My principal interest is the extreme difference in style. Where the Van Gogh is so emotional, and feverish, and spontaneous, my work is planned and premeditated, and painfully worked out. To translate an artist's work into a cartoon style says something. It seems to degrade the work by associating it with cheap reproduction style. But from my point of view I am translating the Van Gogh into my style, which imitates cheap reproduction. I think the process is not so far from Picasso's translations of Velásquez, which at the time they were done must have been seen as debasing the master.