Interior of a restaurant is one of Van Gogh’s most pointillist works. Although he applies the stippling technique in his own distinctive manner. The tables and chairs are not rendered in dots, but in long brushstrokes. Moreover, he uses gradations of colour to suggest shadows, a practice from realism that is not consistent with pointillism.


Exuberant bouquets adorn the tables laid with white tablecloths, like floral still lifes. High in the corner, a black hat ‘floats’ as a reference to a Parisian, who is about to take a seat at the table. The contrasts between the complementary colours – red and green for the walls, yellow and (grey) purple for the floor, and the yellow-orange of the furniture – with the blue in the tablecloths have been carefully applied.


Van Gogh may well have intended the work as a kind of homage to modern art. The poster or ‘crepon’ on the wall on the right indicates his interest in Japanese printmaking. The painting in the middle is his own, also pointillist work Lane in Voyer d'Argenson Park at Asnières. It is possible that he is alluding to the role that he himself hopes to play in the development of the new art.