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Van Gogh obviously made—and painted—his bed, but did he lie in it?
Of all the items in the Bedroom paintings, the bed itself, with its sturdy wooden frame and bright red blanket appears the most consistent. And indeed the artist did paint all the elements of the bed in the same order across each canvas; he first outlined the frame, pillows, and sheets and then filled in his outlines. Still he did not paint them to look the same.
The bed in the first version is strongly reminiscent of Japanese prints, with a much flatter paint application. The red and dark-blue outline of the bed frame enhances the wooden boards and creates a greater contrast between the bright-yellow frame and the pinkish-purple floor.
For the beds in the second and third versions, Van Gogh appears to have used fewer contrasting colors for the outlines and more textured paint applications, which make the beds appear as if they were made out of wood.
Lead support has been provided by the Estate of Jacquet McConville.
Major support has been generously provided by Caryn and King Harris, The Harris Family Foundation; the Gilchrist Foundation; The Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Fund; and Evonne and John Yonover.
Additional funding has been contributed by Constance and David Coolidge, the Mason Foundation, Charlene and Mark Novak, and the Comer Family Foundation.
Annual support for Art Institute exhibitions is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Kenneth Griffin, Robert M. and Diane v.S. Levy, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, Betsy Bergman Rosenfield and Andrew M. Rosenfield, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, and the Woman’s Board.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.