Accurately dating Interior of a Restaurant in Arles has been difficult, largely because van Gogh never mentioned the painting in any existing letter. Pierre Leprohon placed it in late August, 1888, due in part to the blossoming sunflowers and this has been generally accepted, including by leading 20th century van Gogh scholar Jan Hulsker. It is one of two studies Vincent created of this restaurant, the other being Interior of the Restaurant Carrel in Arles. Long supposed to be a view from inside the Hotel Carrel, de la Faille remarks they were probably the interior of the restaurant next to the Yellow House.
To Theo van Gogh. Paris, on or about Sunday, 28 February 1886.
My dear Theo,
Don’t be cross with me that I’ve come all of a sudden. I’ve thought about it so much and I think we’ll save time this way. Will be at the Louvre from midday, or earlier if you like. A reply, please, to let me know when you could come to the Salle Carrée. As for expenses, I repeat, it comes to the same thing. I have some money left, that goes without saying, and I want to talk to you before spending anything. We’ll sort things out, you’ll see. So get there as soon as possible. I shake your hand.