New Book Claims Vincent van Gogh Didn’t Commit Suicide

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Vincent Van Gogh. Self-portrait. Oil on canvas (1889)

A new biography on Vincent van Gogh has just been released, and it’s already stirring up controversy.

Now just because the 900-plus page book, called Van Gogh: The Life, is hefty, doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. In fact, according to the BBC, the book is full of “intensely research[ed] biographical detail about an artist who, in 10 prolific years, introduced an expressionistic style of painting that changed art forever.” And there’s even a reward for getting through the tome. On page 851, the Pulitzer-prize winning authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith drop this bombshell: van Gogh didn’t actually commit suicide.

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The authors argue that a teenaged boy named Rene Secretan, who had a history of harassing the artist, and his brother Gaston accidentally shot van Gogh while the three were out drinking together. Although it’s widely believed that the 37-year-old artist committed suicide — having famously said,”Do not accuse anyone, it is I who wanted to kill myself” —  the authors posit that van Gogh only claimed to have shot himself in order to protect the boys.

Yet not everyone’s convinced. Leo Jansen, the curator of the Van Gogh Museum, told the Associated Press that though the biography was a “great book”, experts “cannot yet agree” on the validity of theory. Something that NewsFeed can be sure of: this controversy will only help with the book’s sales.

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