This pencil shows a part of the work of Van Gogh La nuit étoilée (Starry Night) preserved at the Musée d'Orsay.
From the moment of his arrival in Arles, on 8 February 1888, Van Gogh was constantly preoccupied with the representation of "night effects".
He first painted a corner of nocturnal sky in Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles (Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Muller). Next came this view of the Rhône in which he marvellously transcribed the colours he perceived in the dark. Blues prevail: Prussian blue, ultramarine and cobalt. The city gas lights glimmer an intense orange and are reflected in the water. The stars sparkle like gemstones.