The Guardian broadcasts the claims of two German art historians who have spent 10 years on the case reviewing the evidence and concluding that Van Gogh and Gauguin hushed up Gauguin’s mutilation of the Dutchman’s head:
Van Gogh and Gauguin’s troubled friendship was legendary. In 1888, Van Gogh persuaded him to come to Arles in the south of France to live with him in the Yellow House he had set up as a “studio of the south”. They spent the autumn painting together before things soured. Just before Christmas, they fell out. Van Gogh, seized by an attack of a metabolic disease became aggressive and was apparently crushed when Gauguin said he was leaving for good.
Kaufmann told the Guardian: “Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the Yellow House, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked him, Gauguin wanted to defend himself and to get rid of this ‘madman’. He drew his weapon, made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that cut off his left ear.” Kaufmann said it was not clear if it was an accident or an aimed hit.
The book is called, appropriately enough: Van Gogh’s Ear: Paul Gauguin and the Pact of Silence.