Additional Information About This Piece:
One of the first scenes Van Gogh decided to paint during his stay at Arles, this is a work which heralded what was to become one of the most prolific periods in his career. In a single year, writing some 200 letters. Considering the sheer quantity of his correspondence, it is surprising perhaps, that the precise reasons for his move to Arles remain unclear. Perhaps he chose Arles for the legendary beauty of its women; the famous Arlesiennes raved about in the contemporary guidebooks and novels. Desipte the warm and welcoming atmosphere that led Van Gogh to make confident pronouncements about his hopes for building an artistic community in Arles, his overall response to the place was ambivalent. He once called it "a filthy town." "Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum" was presumably situated in a more salubrious arrondissement, although cafes were a favorite meeting place for prosititutes and their clients; the couple who stop to talk in the middle of the road could be far indeed be welcoming us to participate in just this type of exchange. Alternatively, what we witness is "simply" a scene of calm and stability-still rendered with an expressionistic use of paint, but with no sign of the frenetic activity which surrounded Van Gogh's later works.
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