Van Gogh's Chair, 1888 by Van Gogh

Van Gogh pointed this picture as a pendant to another painting he made at the same time of Gauguin's Chair. The paintings were done in December 1888, when the relationship between Gauguin and Van Gogh hod become strained, and though as get nothing had been mentioned, Van Gogh was aware of the fact that his dream of sharing a studio was rapidly disintegrating. His simple chair sits empty, symbolic of its absent owner, and is an image that is infinitely sad. It is an extraordinary instance of propelling a most familiar object beyond the realm of still life so that it comes to represent the artist himself.

Van Gogh painted the picture on one of the coarse canvases that Gauguin had brought with him to Arles, and built the composition up through flat, broad areas of colour combined with complex pattern created through the complicated lines of the chair and tiles. By including his pipe and tobacco, and his name signed in the background, the object becomes instantly personalized and as such assumes a mantle of emotive expression unconnected to the everyday form of a chair,