Tuesday 5 May 2009

Art historians claim Van Gogh's ear 'cut off by Gauguin'
"Vincent van Gogh's fame may owe as much to a legendary act of self-harm, as it does to his self-portraits. But, 119 years after his death, the tortured post-Impressionist's bloody ear is at the centre of a new controversy, after two historians suggested that the painter did not hack off his own lobe but was attacked by his friend, the French artist Paul Gauguin.
...two German art historians, who have spent 10 years reviewing the police investigations, witness accounts and the artists' letters, argue that Gauguin, a fencing ace, most likely sliced off the ear with his sword during a fight, and the two artists agreed to hush up the truth.



Blogger SRBissette said...

I've been following this story, too -- and truth to tell, I can easily picture Gaugin doing this to his contentious painter pal.

"You never fucking listen, Vincent!" SLASH (Gaugin holds severed ear to his own lips, shouting:) "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW, YOU IDIOT???"

Can't you see it, as depicted in LUST FOR LIFE (Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh, Anthony Quinn as Gaugin) if it had been directed by -- oh, never mind.

Then again, we're all so indoctrinated in the traditional view of these artists, as if encoded from our births, that we're forever sold on self-destructive, self-mutilating Van Gogh as an archetypal artist-type. The entrenched belief that artists' passions must spiral into self-destruction is a societal norm all cling to; it's much more romantic than the grim reality of, say, self-destructive dentists (check the stats someday).

6 May 2009 at 13:26:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree for several reasons. Gauguin left his fencing gear behind and took off like a shot.I think it was only the lobe, and that it was an accident, although probably a Freudian one. Not to mention a drunken one.Lots of Absinthe went down with those two. The local police kept the earlobe as evidence, which they wouldn't do if it was an accident.

6 May 2009 at 14:21:00 GMT-5  
Blogger bob said...

Wow, I'm going to have to completely reassess my opinion of Van Gogh. I used to like his stuff, but now that I know he might not have cut off his ear, not so much. I do have a brand new appreciation for Gauguin, though. I wonder if I can trade in some of my Van Goghs for Gauguins?

6 May 2009 at 15:18:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

"Scarry, Scarry Sight" was the song Gauguin wrote in apology to Vince. Unfortunately he sang it to the bandaged side of Vince, and Vince heard it as starry starry night. It was a huge inspiration for one of his paintings.

True story

6 May 2009 at 18:21:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats funny (to me) are the automatically generated Google ads on the sidebar. Starry Night neckties,Ear Plugs,Otoplasty,Ear Candles (?)(Dare I go there?)

7 May 2009 at 06:06:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Ear candles help you to hear better at night. I can really recomend them.

7 May 2009 at 09:10:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Tis the 'fate of the artist' to be mocked.

7 May 2009 at 19:22:00 GMT-5  
Blogger SRBissette said...

As I can personally attest! Making YOU, Eddie, my Gauguin?

13 May 2009 at 08:23:00 GMT-5  

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