Although the historians [Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans] provide no "smoking gun" to back up their claims, they argue theirs is the most logical interpretation, and explains why in his final recorded words to Gauguin, Van Gogh writes: "You are quiet, I will be, too".Yeah, well, Gauguin was such a jerk to Van Gogh. Just look:
They cite correspondence between Vincent and his brother, Theo, in which the painter hints at what happened without directly breaking the "pact of silence" made with his estranged friend.
He mentions Gauguin's request to recover his fencing mask and gloves from Arles, but not the épée....
He also pointed to one of Van Gogh's sketches of an ear, with the word "ictus" – the Latin term used in fencing to mean a hit. The authors believe that curious zigzags above the ear represent Gauguin's Zoro-like sword-stroke.
May 4, 2009