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Two German art historians (Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans) attempt to set the story straight. They posit that, contrary to popular belief, Van Gogh’s friend Paul Gauguin was the one who severed Van Gogh’s ear after a fight…

[THE GUARDIAN]: Kaufmann told the Guardian: “Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the Yellow House, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked him, Gauguin wanted to defend himself and to get rid of this ‘madman’. He drew his weapon, made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that cut off his left ear.” Kaufmann said it was not clear if it was an accident or an aimed hit.

While curators at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam stand by the theory of self-mutilation, Kaufmann argues that Van Gogh dropped hints in letters to his brother, Theo, once commenting : “Luckily Gauguin … is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons.”

So it this a tale of bromance gone bad?

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