Book claims Van Gogh was killed
October 17, 2011 by staff
Van Gogh: The Life claims the impressionist painter was shot accidentally by teenage brothers with a gun malfunction on a farm in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.
One of the authors, Steven Naifeh, said Van Gogh was grateful for his approaching death and decided to take the blame himself, the protection of adolescents and casting himself as a martyr.
Van Gogh, who suffered from depression, cut off part of one ear, and committed to an asylum, is believed to have ended his life at age 37. He died in 1890, two days after suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. It was believed that he shot himself with a revolver.
Co-author Gregory White Smith says the letters written by the painter does not contain clues that he was considering suicide before his death.
“The doctors told police that the trajectory of the bullet was a crazy angle, and that the weapon was carried out at a distance from the body, and perhaps even too far from the body of Vincent has been taking out the gun, “he said.
Instead, the book says that the fatal shot was fired probably 16 years old, René Secretan, who had a history of upsetting the artist, possibly in what the authors say it could have been a “play cowboy” out wrong.
Naifeh said he and Smith reached their conclusion after interpreting the stories collected by the art historian John Rewald, who visited Auvers in the 1930′s.
“The rumors I had heard was that Vincent did not commit suicide, who was accidentally killed by a couple of guys and decided to protect them and play the martyr who has to fit all the facts ..”
And he says that it is unlikely that Van Gogh had had access to a weapon to shoot himself.
“How did the gun? In Auvers Everyone knew he had been in an asylum. Pistols were a rarity in rural France. Who would have Vincent Van Gogh a gun?”
The curator of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Leo Jansen, is not convinced by the new theory and says he does not believe that will change how people see the artist’s final works of the landscape.
“They remain the same if the man who made them was shot accidentally by children or shot,” he said.
“The Van Gogh Museum … believe that, ultimately, would be premature to rule out suicide as the cause of death.”
He said the book “an important contribution to our understanding of the life of Vincent van Gogh and work with interesting perspectives.”
Naifeh and Smith won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for his biography of the artist Jackson Pollock.
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