The rusty gun which Van Gogh probably used to shoot himself sold for â‚¬162,500 at a Drouot auction in Paris this afternoon. ArtAuction RÃ©my le Fur, which estimated the revolver at â‚¬40,000-â‚¬60,000, describes it as â€œthe most famous weapon in art historyâ€. The private buyer has not been named.
Although the seller has also not been identified by the auctioneer, she is believed to be RÃ©gine Tagliana, an artist and the daughter of Roger and Micheline Tagliana, who in 1952 had bought the cafÃ© where Van Gogh lodged in 1890. The Tagliana family were given the gun in around 1960 by the farmer who had found it on his land, just behind the chÃ¢teau in Auvers-sur-Oise. This is the village just north of Paris where the artist spent his final 70 days.
The auctioned Lefaucheux pinfire revolver is almost certainly the weapon used, although this cannot be conclusively proved. The type of weapon, its calibre, its severely corroded state and the location and circumstances of the find strongly suggest it is the gun. In the evening of 27 July 1890 Van Gogh suffered a gunshot wound while in a wheatfield and he then staggered back to the inn, dying two days later.
The discovery of the gun once again raises the question of whether Van Gogh committed suicide or was murdered. The 2011 biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith argued that he was killed by a local young man, RenÃ© SecrÃ©tan, possibly by accident.
20 Jun 2019