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New Van Gogh biog

A new biography of Van Gogh, which hit the bookstores this week, is causing a stir.

Van Gogh: The Life, written by Stephen Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, claims that the painter was shot by two teenage boys known to Van Gogh, in a tragic accident. The claim runs counter to the long held notion of suicide. Yet, intriguingly enough, the gun was never found. Apparently, the authors contend, Van Gogh was protecting the boys. If true it certainly echoes another assertion: that far from cutting off his own ear, it was chopped off by Van Gogh's close friend and fellow artist, Paul Geoghan one boozy night in Paris. When the police were called Van Gogh was said to have protected Geoghan.

Both could be true.

Van Gogh was a famously melancholic, yet gentle man, whose only outlet was through his prolific and vivid colour-coated painting. This soul saving vocation was made possible only through the assistance of his beloved brother, Theo, charted so touchingly in their correspondence. The letters formed a focal point of the Royal Academy's flagship exhibition last year.

The main question is why was the gun never found?

The Van Gogh Museum has responded to the new claims by saying it's premature.

The authors are touring what seems like the world, whipping up a Van Gogh frenzy, aided by the widespread global media coverage. Fittingly then, the biographers talks in London will take place at the Royal Academy in November.


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