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Closure of Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace At Night: Tax Woes Dim Famous Artistic Haven

Cafe Terrace at Night painting and The Night Cafe painting were both painted by Vincent van Gogh during his stay in the French town of Arles.

Van Gogh’s Legacy

These masterpieces, both depicting the same charming restaurant, offer contrasting perspectives—one showcasing the lively ambiance outside, while the other invites you into the warm glow of the interior. Their profound impact on art history has made them beloved treasures, celebrated for their vivid colors and emotive brushstrokes.

Reconstructing the Cafe

These paintings are very well-known and greatly admired. So much so, that it was reconstructed as Café la Nuit in the same town and attracted many tourists. The original restaurant was destroyed during the bombings of World War II.

Opened by three locals who had no previous restaurant experience, they paid close attention to details in their recreation. A fourth partner, Roland Zemmour, would later take over full ownership. It was so authentic in its recreation that it was even registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

the story behind the closure of Van Gogh's beloved Caffe Terrace at Night

Tax Turmoil Leads to Closure

However, despite its initial success, Café la Nuit faced a tumultuous downfall. In 2015, financial irregularities surfaced, revealing significant discrepancies in tax declarations. The ensuing legal proceedings led to the banishment of Roland Zemmour, a key figure in the venture, from business ownership for a decade, leaving the fate of the café uncertain.

Today, as the doors of Café la Nuit remain shuttered, the legacy of van Gogh’s vision lives on through art. For those yearning to immerse themselves in the enchanting ambiance of Arles, our Vincent van Gogh Gallery offers an exquisite selection. Transport yourself to a starlit evening in southern France with our faithful reproductions of The Café Terrace at Night and The Night Café, allowing you to savor the essence of van Gogh’s world from the comfort of your own home. Explore our collection and bring the magic of Arles into your living space today, and pretend you are enjoying an evening meal in the town of Arles without even leaving your home.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.