Van Gogh's Bedroom (With The Artist's Cats Added)

Van Gogh’s Bedroom is one of his best known paintings, but you probably never heard about the artist’s cats and how they influenced his life.

Deborah Julian’s illustration tells a story both illuminating and cautionary.

Van Gogh’s Bedroom (Artist’s Cats Added)

In Van Gogh’s bedroom, you can see all three of the cats he loved.
On the cozy wicker chair in the right foreground, Georgés curls in happy slumber while, in the background, Guillaume spills his gentle furriness over the edges of the chair Van Gogh let the postmaster use when he came to sip schnapps.

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Van Gogh's Bedroom (With The Artist's Cats Added) Cat Art PrintOf course, entering his bedroom after a long day of plein air painting, Van Gogh immediately saw his beloved Sammé stretched full-length across the red quilt he’d left there in the morning. Was it Sammé who tilted all of his favorite pictures hung on the wall above his mattress? Or were all three fur balls on a wild romp and banged them around in their gaiety?

‘At least, they didn’t get the cat crazies while I was sleeping,’ Van Gogh must have thought, forgetting that Guillaume had slept on his head, preventing sound slumber anyway, and that Georgés had head-butted him at 2:00 am to make a request for fresh water.

Yes, as you can surmise from this updated picture, Vincent’s cats were contented, and it made him feel less isolated when he came home and found them sleeping. Just as they had been when went off to work, hours before.

Seconds after this, of course, Van Gogh’s three loyal cats became aware of his presence, and they raced to greet him and demand fresh food. And before preparing his own meal, he whipped up some mashed fish for them. But Guillaume didn’t like it and refused to eat until Van Gogh went next door, late at night, and pissed off his neighbor by asking to borrow, not sugar, but kibble.

By the time Van Gogh fed himself, the artist’s cats were relaxed and back in place. Van Gogh slept on the floor, unwilling to disturb his beloved cats.

Van Gogh’s Bedroom (With The Artist’s Cats Added) tells us a true story from his difficult life. Honest.

As for the artist’s cats, after Van Gogh’s death, they went away to a small ocean kingdom with Gauguin and were honored as gods by the islanders who had never seen creatures like them (or Gauguin.)

David Stone, Writer