Paul Gauguin (Man in a Red Beret)

Paul Gauguin (Man in a Red Beret) Tragedies and Triumphs Nineteenth Century Life Visual Arts Famous People

This painting of Paul Gauguin (Man in a Red Beret) is attributed to Vincent van Gogh. It was created in December of 1888 and is currently owned by the van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh and Gauguin frequently quarreled during their nine weeks of living together at the yellow house in Arles.  On the 23rd of December, 1888, Vincent approached Gauguin from behind with a razor. 

Gauguin left the house and Vincent, famously, then cut-off part of his own lower-left ear. 

Earlier in the day, van Gogh had written this letter to his brother, Theo. It is almost entirely about his deteriorating relationship with Gauguin:

I think myself that Gauguin was a little out of sorts with the good town of Arles, the little yellow house where we work, and especially with me. [Gauguin had written to Theo that Vincent and he could not go on living together "in consequence of incompatibility of temper." The friends patched things up, but all was not well.]

As a matter of fact there are bound to be for him as for me further grave difficulties to overcome here.

But these difficulties are rather within ourselves than outside.

Altogether I think that either he will definitely go, or else definitely stay.

Before doing anything I told him to think it over and reckon things up again.

Gauguin is very powerful, strongly creative, but just because of that he must have peace.

Will he find it anywhere if he does not find it here?

I am waiting for him to make a decision with absolute serenity.

Vincent, apparently, did not have as much "absolute serenity" as he thought he had.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 11, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Dec 11, 2016

Media Credits

Quoted passage, letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh dated 4 December 1888.  Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, published in The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, Publisher: Bulfinch, 1991, number 565.  PD

Image online, courtesy Web Gallery of Art.  PD



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