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Van Gogh Answered

I was down the pub the other night and I saw van gogh come in, he looked across the bar and said "Hi Phil"      I said "Hi can I get you a lager?"   He said "No thanks I've got one 'ere"

Don't shoot the messenger



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9 years ago



Here's the article verbatim (this is not a hoax):

by Rachael Brown, staff ABC

The authors of a new biography of Vincent Van Gogh claim the artist died after being accidentally shot, and did not kill himself as is commonly thought.

Van Gogh: The Life claims the impressionist painter was shot accidentally by teenage brothers with a malfunctioning gun at a farm in Auvers-sur-Oise in France.

One of the authors, Steven Naifeh, says Van Gogh was grateful for his approaching death and decided to take the blame himself, protecting the teenagers and casting himself as a martyr.

Van Gogh, who suffered from depression, cut off part of an ear, and committed himself to an asylum, is widely believed to have ended his own life at age 37. He died in 1890, two days after suffering a gunshot wound to his chest. It has been believed that he shot himself with a revolver.

Co-author Gregory White Smith says letters written by the painter contain no hints he was considering suicide before his death.
Audio: New theory finds teenager may have shot Van Gogh (AM)

"The doctors told the police that the trajectory of the bullet was at a crazy angle, and that the gun was held at a distance from the body, and even perhaps too far from the body for Vincent to have actually been holding the gun," he said.

Instead the book says the fatal shot was probably fired by 16-year-old Rene Secretan, who had a history of pestering the artist, possibly in what the authors say could have been a "cowboy game" gone wrong.

Naifeh said he and Smith reached their conclusion after interpreting stories collected by art historian John Rewald, who visited Auvers in the 1930s.

"The rumours that he heard were that Vincent didn't kill himself; that he was shot accidentally by a couple of boys and that he decided to protect them and play the martyr. That account would fit all of the known facts."

And he says it is unlikely that Van Gogh would have had access to a gun with which to shoot himself.

"How did he get the gun? Everyone in Auvers knew that he had been in an insane asylum. Pistols were a rarity in rural France. Who would have given 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 it will change how people view the artist's final landscape works.

"They remain the same whether the man who made them was accidentally shot by young boys or shot himself," he said.

"The Van Gogh Museum ... believes that, all things considered, it would be premature to rule out suicide as the cause of death."

He added that the book "represents a major contribution to our understanding of Vincent van Gogh's life and work, with intriguing new perspectives."

Naifeh and Smith won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for their biography of the artist Jackson Pollock