Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another Ear Theory

Two German art historians are proposing another possibility for Vincent's mutilated ear: that Gauguin did it (see the Guardian article). The book "Van Gogh's Ear and the Pact of Silence" suggests that Gauguin injured Vincent with one of his fencing swords during a fight, either accidentally or intentionally. The two artists, according to this hypothesis, agreed to keep the incident a secret. Now, I am not a big fan of Gauguin and think Vincent's life would have been very different had he not come to Arles, but I am not persuaded. First of all, given that Vincent's ear was sliced only partially, that would have been quite a feat with a fencing sword. Especially 'by accident.'

The Guardian also published a rebuttal blogpost by art and design critic Jonathan Jones.

UPDATE: The Daily Mail also has an article about the new book (thanks for the link, Julianne!) and reveals more of the theory: that the alleged fight between Gauguin and van Gogh was about Rachel. I still am not persuaded Gauguin wounded Vincent with a sword, but otherwise the connection with my novel is really fun...and that's all I'm saying...

UPDATE 2: Wow, this story is being picked up by a lot of news outlets. It's not every day Vincent winds up on TMZ. Martin Gayford, author of the book "The Yellow House," has a rebuttal at Bloomberg.com that I think is spot on (although I think he favors Gauguin more than I do...).

5 comments:

Julianne Douglas said...

I can't wait to read that novel of yours....

Sheramy said...

It's not long now, actually. :-) Thanks for the link!!

Too bad all this buzz over the 'ear incident' and Rachel isn't happening in October!

Margaret said...

Haha! I have a very hard time believing that something like that could occur as the result of a fencing accident. Interesting theory, though!

MiMi said...

Why after all this time are they putting forth this new theory? or why
do you think they are just now doing
this speculating?

The Clever Pup said...

Love this blog!!
I have been talking about the ear theory too. I love to talk about art history and its small mysteries.

Please pay me a visit.