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The Night I Stayed in 'Van Gogh's Bedroom' But Slept on the Couch

By David Matthews | February 22, 2016 6:38am
 A reporter documents his stay in an Airbnb designed after a Van Gogh painting. 
'Van Gogh's Bedroom' on Airbnb
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CHICAGO — The "Van Gogh" apartment's bedroom might be Post-Impressionist, but its living room is more like Patrick Bateman of "American Psycho."

Unlike Vincent Van Gogh's "Yellow House" grounded in southern France, the Airbnb-designed spot, inspired by the painter's most famous bedroom, sits 29 floors up a River North high-rise. Instead of absinthe and poisonous mercury, this place has a pool and a doorman. 

And a full kitchen, and a glass shower, and as previously mentioned: a living room with decor and views somewhat evocative of "American Psycho." But the bedroom itself — a real-life reproduction of intimate Van Gogh paintings in promotion of a new Art Institute exhibit — is just as rich as anything else in the apartment. So much that I couldn't bear to actually sleep in "Van Gogh's Bedroom." I opted instead for the couch, where I could wake up and take photos of the tidy room again in the morning.

"The Bedroom" by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889. [The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection]

It was a somewhat sad, but necessary, decision. As "Vincent," the clever public relations professional masquerading as the deceased Dutch painter, wrote in a note to me: There's only one of these bedrooms, and Vincent worked very hard on it. I decided sleeping like Van Gogh would be cool, but his biography — and body of work — show he didn't do much of that anyway.

David Matthews describes his stay in Van Gogh's "bedroom":

Not that I was trying to emulate everything Van Gogh did. He cut off his ear in that bedroom too. Maybe I was just a journo with a camera, little time, and subpar bed-making skills.  

Like the painting, the bedroom combines calming green and blue hues with a warm red blanket and plain wicker chairs. But this is a story that should be shown, not told.

See for yourself: 


P.S. Vincent, the place was lovely. Even the couch. Thank you. 

Related Stories: 

Art Institute to Show All of Van Gogh's 'Bedroom' Paintings

Stay in Van Gogh's 'Bedroom' on Airbnb for $10

Van Gogh's Intimate Life Exposed in Bedroom Exhibit Now Open to Public

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