Series - Rooms and Beds in Art

The Annunciation by Rogier Van der Weyden, painted in oil on oak panels, would have been the central part of a triptych executed by the painter around 1440.

The scene takes place in a wealthy interior. Mary, her hair untied, sits on the floor in front of a desk and reads. Gabriel is standing in front of her, covered with a richly embroidered golden cloak. Several elements recall Christ: the vine leaves on the angel's garment ("I am the vine"); the extinguished candle awaits the light of the Savior; the medallion in the baldachin represents a majestic Christ; the pomegranate symbolizes both the Passion and fertility.
Other elements are a tribute to Mary: the three open flowers of the lily symbolize the three states of Mary's virginity (before, during and after); the stars formed by the paving remind us that Mary is the morning star; the transparent vial represents the miraculous birth and virginity. Other symbols can also be identified: the basin and the ewer represent purification by water; the lions on the armrests recall those on Solomon's throne; the dragons in the chandelier embody evil.
"La conception de Merlin", France, 1450. Let's see, that's over 570 years ago... Ultra contemporary.

A famous illumination, "How Merlin was begotten of the devil. And how he was in love with the lady of the lake". From the book Lancelot of 1494.

Toussaint Dubreuil, (1561 - 1602), "L'Amour endormi".

The sleeping young man does not have the wings of Love but only, next to his bed, his bow and arrows. These attributes are also those of Apollo. The figure climbing onto the bed seems drunk, with wine or love? In the background, a rather strange violent scene to illustrate love. The use of the blue prepared paper was a nice method used then.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, "Le Verrou", 1777.

Simple genre scene, in the saucy spirit of the late Ancien Régime period, or moralising history painting that intentionally upsets the hierarchy of genres. At first glance, it is a gallant scene: a woman weakly resists the amorous ardors of her lover who closes the bedroom lock. The work is full of intriguing details, each more symbolic than the next. If we stick to the logic of the moment, the man who closes the door has not achieved his goal. A question then crosses our mind: why is the room already in disorder? In this disturbing context, certain objects reveal all their symbolism to evoke eroticism.

Eugène Delacroix, "Un Lit défait", 1827. Sublime!

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1896.

Work of the Hungarian, József Rippl-Rónai, from 1900, it is a pleasure, no?

Absolute masterpiece of Pablo Picasso, "The Blue Room", 1901.
Picasso shows his admiration for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in this painting from the blue period. On the wall above the bed is a poster that Toulouse-Lautrec made for the English dancer May Milton for an American tour that never took place.
For this poster, Toulouse-Lautrec used only five colors, saturating the background with blue and using the white of the paper for Milton (see next post).
How on earth did Picasso know about this poster of which only a few prints are known?
A room, the most beautiful and what modernity to date from 1905.
"Intérieur à Collioure", Henri Matisse.

Kees van Dongen, " La robe rose ", 1919.

Kees Van Dongen was born on January 26, 1877. In 1892, he entered the School of Decorative Arts in Rotterdam.
He arrived in Paris in 1897 and led a miserable existence in Montmartre. He contributed to the Assiette au beurre and other satirical weeklies and became known for his caricatured drawings.
He began to exhibit in 1904 at Vollard. In 1905, he exhibited at the Salon d'automne, where the bright colors of his works were, along with those of Vlaminck and Matisse, the origin of the name of a group of painters: the "Fauves".
After the First World War, Kees Van Dongen began a career as a portraitist of Parisian society. Decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1922, he finally obtained French nationality in 1928.
Kees Van Dongen died at his home in Monte Carlo in 1968.

Pierre Paulus, "Le Couvre-lit Rouge".

It is this Belgian painter who drew, in 1913, the rooster which appears on the Walloon flag, familiarly called cock of the roost.

Suzanne Valadon, " La Chambre bleue ", 1923.

What a painter and what a woman! She was one of the first women admitted to the Société nationale des beaux-arts, in 1894, and embodied a formidable freedom in her life as in her work. Daughter of a linen maid from Limousin, she was first an acrobat and then a model for Puvis de Chavannes, Renoir or Toulouse-Lautrec, before becoming a self-taught painter. She is the mother of Maurice Utrillo.
Henri Matisse, "Nu couché", 1927.
Augusto Giacometti, " Ma chambre d’hôtel à Paris" 1938

Henri Matisse, paralyzed, draws on the walls of his room-workshop of the old Régina hotel, in Nice, the figures of the chapel of Vence.
Francis Bacon, "Portrait de Henrietta Moraes", 1963.
Louise Bourgeois, "Blue Bed", etching published in 1998 in only 21 copies.

And to conclude, what would be a "Bed" series without "Vincent Van Gogh's room in Arles"?
In Arles, where he settled in February, he rented the "yellow house" and painted pictures to decorate its walls, such as the famous Sunflowers. His room even became the subject of a painting, of which he would later provide two other versions. This one was done in 1889, while he was interned in the psychiatric hospital of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He painted it especially as a gift to his mother. A letter to his brother Theo sheds light on his intentions: "The sight of the painting should rest the head or rather the imagination", he wrote. The artist, who was going through a difficult period, was clearly in search of appeasement. Through this work, he wants to suggest the rest to which he aspires and seeks to calm the torments that beset him. Only the strange perspective that defines the space of the room reveals an instability, an anxiety: the furniture seems to float in the room, the bed, distorted, slides towards the viewer.

Many artists, and more particularly painters, make a subject, sometimes banal, their own, they decline it, persist and go to the point of obsession, seeking to capture the different lights over the hours of a day or wanting to represent a changing and subtle atmosphere. Claude Monet, from 1892 to 1894, painted 30 pictures of the façade of the cathedral in Rouen. In 1955, inspired by Eugene Delacroix, Pablo Picasso painted a series of fifteen paintings "The Women of Algiers" and before that, 92 preparatory drawings. Between October 1888 and 1889, Vincent van Gogh chose the banal setting of his room in Arles. The first version of the painting presents, above the bed, the portrait of the painter Eugène Boch and the portrait of the second lieutenant Paul-Eugène Milliet.

Van Gogh made two other versions of this painting. The first was damaged by a flood of the Rhone. Van Gogh painted the second version in 1889 from his bedroom. Vincent van Gogh hung a self-portrait and a female portrait above the bed. Encouraged by the result, Van Gogh painted a third version as a gift to his sister. In this version, the portrait of Eugène Boch is replaced by the self-portrait without a beard, the other painting does not resemble any known painting. Both are meticulously painted.
From a letter from Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo.
"The walls are a pale purple. The floor is red checked.
The wood of the bed and the chairs are fresh butter yellow.
The sheet and pillows very light lime green. The scarlet blanket.
The window is green. The orange dressing table the blue bowl. The lilac doors."

"Bedroom at Arles," 1992, by Roy Lichtenstein, is a huge, pop interpretation of "van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles.
It has the same layout as van Gogh's work, but the furniture has been given a facelift!