Did Van Gogh really commit a suicide?  First half of the article in The Art Newspaper, with translation.

ゴッホの死は自殺だったのか。The Art Newspaper の記事からの抜粋と、意訳です。


Van Gogh: murder mystery or straightforward suicide?


Specialists from Amsterdam museum refute recent claims that 16-year-old schoolboy killed the artist


By Martin Bailey. News, Issue 248, July-August 2013
Published online: 08 August 2013


Image: Wikipedia

Who killed Vincent van Gogh? The artist’s death in France was always assumed to be suicide, until the publication of the definitive biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith two years ago. In it, the American writers unveiled a shocking theory: a 16-year-old schoolboy, René Secrétan, had shot Van Gogh, though whether intentionally or accidentally was unclear. The authors argued that the artist, who took two days to die, “welcomed death” and protected Secrétan by claiming that it was suicide.


Now the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has joined the debate, with an article in the July issue of the Burlington Magazine. In a detailed review of the biography, two of its research specialists, Louis van Tilborgh and Teio Meedendorp, insist that Van Gogh’s death was suicide.


In the 960-page book, Van Gogh: the Life, Naifeh and Smith wrote: “For an act of such far-reaching significance and subsequent notoriety, surprisingly little is known about the incident that led to Van Gogh’s death at the age of 37.” All that is certain is that he died two days after sustaining a gunshot wound on 27 July 1890, somewhere in Auvers-sur-Oise.


They set out to investigate, relying heavily on a little-known interview given by Secrétan in 1957, shortly before his death. Secrétan recalled that he had owned a pistol, which he used for shooting squirrels. He and his elder brother, Gaston, knew Van Gogh and used to tease him.


René Secrétan claimed that the artist had stolen the gun from him but revealed nothing more about the shooting. Naifeh and Smith interpreted the interview as a deathbed confession and cited the late art historian John Rewald, who recalled a rumour in Auvers that “young boys shot Vincent accidentally”. According to the story, Van Gogh decided to protect René and Gaston from charges of murder or manslaughter.


Forensic evidence


Naifeh and Smith focused on the nature of the wound, concluding that the gun was fired “at some distance from the body, not close up”, with the bullet entering “from an unusual, oblique angle (not straight on)”. This evidence came from the doctors who treated Van Gogh: his friend Dr Paul Gachet and a local practitioner, Dr Jean Mazery.


Having examined the claims, Van Tilborgh and Meedendorp remain convinced that Van Gogh’s death was suicide. Their article argues that Secrétan’s interview does not substantiate the murder or manslaughter theory “in the slightest”. All it suggests is that Van Gogh may have somehow obtained the gun from the brothers. They also argue that, although Rewald repeated the rumour about the Secrétans, he “professed no particular belief in its accuracy”.


They cite new material published last year in a book by Alain Rohan (Vincent van Gogh: Aurait-on retrouvé l’arme du suicide?). Dr Gachet recollected that the wound was brown with a purple halo. The purplish ring would have been caused by the bullet’s impact, but the brownish one would have come from powder burns, indicating that the gun had been held close to the chest, under a shirt. This would almost certainly mean that Van Gogh was responsible.

2人の専門家は、アラン・ロアン氏が去年出版した(Vincent van Gogh: Aurait-on retrouvé l’arme du suicide?)に記載されている新資料を引用している。ガシェ医師の回想によると、傷は茶色で紫の輪に囲まれていた。紫がかった輪は弾によるものと考えられるが、茶色がかっているのは火薬による創傷の可能性が高く、銃をシャツの下胸の近くで持っていたことを暗示している。この傷は、ほぼ確実にゴッホ自身によるものであることを意味している。

Rohan also produced new evidence about the weapon. In the 1950s, a rusty revolver was discovered buried in a field just behind the Château d’Auvers, where Van Gogh is said to have shot himself. An examination suggested that it had been in the soil for 60 to 80 years. The gun was discovered close to the Chemin des Berthelées, the spot painted by Dr Gachet’s son in 1904, in a picture he entitled Auvers, the area where Vincent committed suicide. The revolver was found just beyond the low farmhouses in the centre of the painting.

ロアン氏は銃についても、新しい証拠を提示している。1950年代、シャトー・ドーヴェルの背後にある野原の地中から、錆びた拳銃が発見された。その場所は、ゴッホが銃で自殺したと言われているあたりだ。調査の結果、発見された深さの土は60年から80年前のものということがわかっている。銃はChemin des Berthelées(ベルトレ通り)の近くで発見された。そこは、ガシェ博士の息子が1904年に絵を描いた場所で、その絵にはゴッホが自殺した地域であるオーヴェルというい画題を付けている。その絵画の中央に描かれている低い農家のすぐ背後で、その銃が発見された。

Image: theartnewspaper.com
Auvers, the area where Vincent committed suicide, 1904, by Louis van Ryssel (Paul Gachet Jr)



Le château d’Auvers-sur-Oise

Image: auvers-sur-oise.eu / Le château d’Auvers-sur-Oise



Image: auvers-sur-oise.eu / Auvers-sur-Oise – Quartier du Valhermeil – 1904


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