Collecting Gauguin, Courtauld. Gauguin, an excellent fencer, was planning to leave Van Gogh's "Yellow House" in Arles, southwestern France, after an unhappy stay. As the pair approached a bordello, their row intensified, and Gauguin cut off Van Gogh's left earlobe with his sword — either in anger or self-defence.
Van Gogh delivered the ear to the prostitute and staggered home, where police discovered him the following day, the new account claims. Gauguin had undoubtedly been staying with Van Gogh, but most experts think he had disappeared before the ear incident. Although the historians provide no "smoking gun" to back up their claims, they argue theirs is the most logical interpretation, and explains why in his final recorded words to Gauguin, Van Gogh writes: "You are quiet, I will be, too".
They cite correspondence between Vincent and his brother, Theo, in which the painter hints at what happened without directly breaking the "pact of silence" made with his estranged friend.
Mr Kaufmann told the Daily Telegraph: "He writes that it's lucky Gauguin doesn't have a machine gun or other firearms, that he's stronger than him and that his 'passions' are stronger. He makes reference to a French novel in which the narrator thinks he has killed his friend by cutting the climbing rope linking them. He also pointed to one of Van Gogh's sketches of an ear, with the word "ictus" — the Latin term used in fencing to mean a hit. In the first letter that Vincent van Gogh wrote after the incident, he told Gauguin, "I will keep quiet about this and so will you.
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Vincent van Gogh, who painted The Starry Night , Sunflowers and the Potato Eaters but also a self-portrait with his bandaged ear to name but a few, died in from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of Gauguin died in at age Toggle navigation Paul Gauguin. What Are We?
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Wher Are We Going? Tahitian Women. Bleeding heavily, van Gogh then wrapped it in cloth, walked to a nearby bordello and presented the severed ear to a prostitute, who fainted when he handed it to her.
He then went home to sleep in a blood-drenched bed, where he almost bled to death, before police, alerted by the prostitute, found him the next morning. He was unconscious and immediately taken to the local hospital, where he asked to see his friend Gauguin when he woke up, but Gauguin refused to see him. A new book, published in Germany by Hamburg-based historians Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans, argues that Vincent van Gogh may have made up the whole story to protect his friend Gauguin, a keen fencer, who actually lopped it off with a sword during a heated argument. The historians say that the real version of events has never surfaced because the two men both kept a "pact of silence" - Gauguin to avoid prosecution and van Gogh in an effort trying to keep his friend with whom he was hopelessly infatuated.
It contains inconsistencies and there are plenty of hints by both artists that the truth is much more complex than the story we've all known.