Vincent got off the train at Arles in February of 1888. He had left Paris, where he was living with his brother Theo in Montmartre and was seeking a new place to paint. Van Gogh, like so many artists of that era was in love with Japanese prints and he wanted to find a landscape that matched the snow-capped scenes in the oriental woodcuts that were all the go in Paris. A freak snowstorm blanketed the area when he arrived and he impulsively decided this was going to be his Japan. After a stay in the Hotel Carrel he found a dilapidated house just south of the train station and set about refurbishing it. He had the outside repainted yellow.
Vincent envisioned Arles as an art mecca for the Impressionists and tried to talk several artists into joining him. Guaguin was not his first choice, but he was the only one who came. Before Guaguin arrived, Vincent began to paint with a newfound intensity and in the next several months would produce many of the iconic paintings he is famous for, including "Sunflowers," "Starry Night Over The Rhone," "The Bedroom," "Langlois Bridge," "The Night Cafe" and ""The Cafe Terrace On The Place Du Forum."
Of course, Gauguin came, they fought over everything, Gauguin left and Vincent had a meltdown (and cut off his ear), ending up in the local hospital. After a time, he got out, but had a relapse and 30 neighbors signed a petition to have him arrested for groping the local women and following people into their houses. The locals called him "flou roux"—The Mad Redhead. Kids threw rocks at him. The house was closed and all his stuff impounded. Van Gogh was moved to an insane asylum in nearby Saint Remy. It's amazing that any of his paintings survived, considering the animosity towards the Mad Redhead, but Theo had everything shipped to Paris and he saved it all.
Vincent never came back to Arles and in a year he was dead, perhaps shot down by a Buffalo Bill wannabe. The Yellow House continued to deteriorate until World War II when. . .
A bombing raid demolished the Yellow House. Today the site is a mecca for painters and fans of The Mad Redhead, Vincent van Gogh.