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Was Van Gogh shot? Museum doubts new theory, sticks with suicide

Monday 17 October 2011

Experts from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam say they are not convinced by claims made in a new book that Vincent van Gogh was shot by teenagers in the village where he lived, website nu.nl reports on Monday.

The new biography of Van Gogh, written by Pulitzer prize-winners Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, goes against the accepted theory that the artist committed suicide.

They say the artist claimed to have shot himself to protect the boys, and that 'he was covering up his own murder.' Van Gogh, who suffered from severe depression, died two days after the shooting.


The authors back up their claim by arguing the gun used to shoot Van Gogh was never found. They also draw heavily on a statement made by a 16-year-old boy at the time.

But the museum's curator Leo Jansen told nu.nl the findings are not sufficiently supported by the facts.

'The interpretation is interesting but there are still a lot of unanswered questions,' he said. 'The museum thinks it is too early to change the cause of death from suicide.'

Jansen also praised the book, which is based on a review of existing material, for offering new insights into his life and family.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Thank you for drawing our attention to this wonderful 60 minutes interview. However, the exciting part, about the 'killing' v suicide dispute is actually in the second part: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7384908n&tag=contentMain;contentAux

But the two (each about 12 minutes) pieces are brilliant to watch, if u are a Van Gogh-fan, as i - most certainly - am!

However, it also proves the point I always felt: that in order to TRULY understand European art, u'd better off NOT to be an American.... :0). Sorry! Nothing personal....

By Lily WLP | 17 October 2011 6:29 PM

How does being an American make me unable to understand or enjoy European art?

By Meg | 22 October 2011 6:18 PM

The rumor that two young boys shot Vincent van Gogh has been around for decades. See for example page 259 of "Vincent van Gogh: Chemicals, Crises, and Creativity" by Wilfred Arnold, published 1992. There was nothing to support the rumor then, and Naifeh and Smith offer nothing now.

By Dr. Wilfred Niels Arnold | 22 October 2011 7:12 PM

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