On Wednesday, the rusty revolver that Vincent Van Gogh is believed to have used to kill himself went up for auction. The 7mm Lefaucheux handgun was sold for €162,500 ($183,000), roughly three times its estimate, by a private collector via telephone bid.
Van Gogh shot himself in the stomach in a cornfield near Auvers-sur-Oise, a village north of Paris, and died in a village inn two days later. In 1965, a farmer found the revolver in the same field and gave it to the owners of another inn in the village. They passed it down through their family before selling it to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2016. There, the weapon was part of an exhibition: “On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and His Illness.”
The revolver, described as “the most famous weapon in the history of art,” carries some controversy. AuctionArt admitted they could not completely confirm the authenticity of the gun but they were confident in their evidence. “Technical tests on the weapon have shown [it was] used and indicate that it stayed in the ground for a period that would coincide with 1890 … All these clues give credence to the theory that this is the weapon used in the suicide,” they said.
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