It looks like he didn’t cut it off himself after all. Gauguin did it.
What is not disputed is that Van Gogh lost his ear when the two artists were living in the South of France in December 1888. The Dutch painter, who traveled to France after teaching himself to draw, was attempting to set up an artists’ retreat. The two were known to fight about art. Van Gogh believed an artist should paint what he saw, while Gauguin painted according to his memory. But on this occasion, they were fighting over a prostitute named Rachel, outside the brothel where she worked, the book says.
Paul Gauguin cut off Van Gogh’s ear, says Hans Kaufmann of Hamburg University. ‘To get rid of Van Gogh, who was begging him to stay [in the south of France] Gauguin waved his weapon in the direction of the victim while they were in front of the house of ill repute. ‘The left ear fell. We cannot say if it was deliberate or an accident. In this situation, the protagonists vowed to keep silent. Then Gauguin disappeared, abandoning his friend. ‘The next day, the police questioned Gauguin. That’s when he made up the theory about self-mutilation.’
RELATED: Here’s Don Mclean’s Vincent.