Now available for rent on Airbnb is a full-size, 3D replica of Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting “The Bedroom” (1889), complete with rustic twin bed, pale violet walls, copper-green wood floor, and straw hat on a peg. Created by the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), the installation part of a promotion for the exhibition Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, centered around three paintings he created while living in his “Yellow House” in France, from 1888 to 1889.
“I’m charging $10 [a night] for no other reason than that I need to buy paint,” writes the Airbnb host “Vincent” of his rental listing. Designed in partnership with advertising agency Leo Burnett, the room’s surfaces are painted in the Dutch master’s signature streaky brushstrokes, creating a surreal illusion of two-dimensionality. Part of a larger apartment in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, the recreated bedroom is a short walk from the AIC, if renters wish to go see the paintings that inspired it.
In a letter to his friend Paul Gauguin, van Gogh explained that these paintings had come out of a period of being ill and bedridden. He also described the composition in a letter to his brother, Theo:
This time it simply reproduces my bedroom; but color must be abundant in this part, its simplification adding a rank of grandee to the style applied to the objects, getting to suggest a certain rest or dream. Well, I have thought that on watching the composition we stop thinking and imagining. I have painted the walls pale violet. The ground with checked material. The wooden bed and the chairs, yellow like fresh butter; the sheet and the pillows, lemon light green. The bedspread, scarlet coloured.The window, green. The washbasin, orangey; the tank, blue. The doors, lilac. And, that is all. There is not anything else in this room with closed shutters. The square pieces of furniture must express unswerving rest; also the portraits on the wall, the mirror, the bottle, and some costumes. The white colour has not been applied to the picture, so its frame will be white, aimed to get me even with the compulsory rest recommended for me. I have depicted no type of shade or shadow; I have only applied simple plain colours, like those in crêpes.
Reservations for van Gogh’s bedroom will be made monthly in blocks through the Airbnb posting; the AIC will make announcements about the listing via its Facebook and Instagram pages. February is already booked, and March is sure to fill up quickly, so keep your ears peeled for new listings.