Airbnb offers a starry night in Van Gogh’s bedroom

A real-life version of Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom.”
Art Institute of Chicago
A real-life version of Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom.”

You know that expression “like living in a painting”?

How about spending a night inside one of the world’s most famous?

To publicize its upcoming exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings of his bedroom in Arles, France, the Art Institute of Chicago has created a replica of the iconic chambre — and is renting it out on Airbnb.


The room, located 10 blocks from the museum, accommodates two for a nightly rate of $10, befitting an artist who sold only one of his paintings during his lifetime. (“I’m charging $10 for no other reason than that I need to buy paint,” reads the listing, which is written the way Van Gogh might have composed it, had Airbnb existed in the 19th century.)

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

And the re-creation? It’s a stunningly accurate representation of the artist’s “The Bedroom,” an 1889 work that is one of three distinct paintings Van Gogh made of the room.

The room in the Airbnb posting is arranged exactly the same as it is in the painting — the vase, bottles, the bowl, and the jug on a small table, the clothes on a rack behind the bed, the wicker seat chairs. But that’s not all: The room is painted to replicate the texture and feel of the artwork; the blue and white streaks on the wall, the faded green paint and partially exposed wood tones on the floor, the deliberately inexact outlines of the furniture, and the tilt of the floor.

“The hope is that it’s sort of a complementary experience of understanding how Van Gogh was looking at his home,” said Amanda Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Institute.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
“The Bedroom.” (1889)

The exhibition, which runs from Feb. 14 through May 10, offers an in-depth study of the making of Van Gogh’s three representations of the room in his “Yellow House” at Arles, which he painted between 1888 and 1889. It’s the first time the three paintings have been brought together in North America, Hicks said.


The show includes more than 30 paintings by Van Gogh, as well as letters, sketch books, and other documents. It also has a second life-size reconstruction of Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles similar to the one being rented out, except the one in the museum is equipped with digital features intended to help viewers get inside the artist’s imagination.

That exhibit will come in handy for those who are not able to snap up the Airbnb room for a night — by Wednesday morning, the February dates in the Airbnb listing had all been reserved.

More dates will be made available later this month. Hicks said the institute will rent out the room for the duration of the exhibit.

David Filipov can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @davidfilipov.