Wednesday 22 March 2023

Van Gogh’s ‘suicide gun’ sold at auction for €130,000

Did this gun kill Vincent van Gogh? Photo: Herman Wouters via HH

A gun that Vincent van Gogh may have used to kill himself has been sold at auction in Paris for €130,000, more than double the estimated value, to an anonymous buyer.

The weapon, a Lefauchaux, was found in 1965 by a farmer in the field where the painter allegedly shot himself on July 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. It was handed to the owner of the inn where Van Gogh lodged at the time and where he died from his injuries two days later.

The gun stayed in the family and was exhibited for the first time at the Van Gogh museum in 2016 in the exhibition Dichtbij de waanzin (close to madness).

Experts say it will never be certain if this was the weapon Van Gogh used but that the bullet is of the same 7mm calibre as the one retrieved from his body.

The safety catch was off which means it had been used. Analysis of the weapon by auction house Auction Art also showed it could have been in the ground for the period between 1890 and 1965.

The auction house official who dealt with the telephone bids by the eventual buyer said he could say nothing about his client. ‘My client will only say that they are very happy,’ the AD quoted him as saying. ‘And perhaps he will reveal himself in the coming days.’

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