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Van Gogh may have been murdered

art and culture Updated: Oct 19, 2011 17:22 IST
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A claim by two US authors that Vincent van Gogh may not have taken his own life is "interesting", but it is premature to discard the long-held suicide theory, the Van Gogh museum said recently.

In a new biography of the Dutch-born painter, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith detail forensic evidence they say proves van Gogh was killed by two brothers at a farm in Auvers-sur-Oise in France.

Van Gogh"This interpretation is interesting," museum curator Leo Jansen said in a statement on Monday, clarifying that the "Van Gogh museum believes it is premature at this time to discard suicide as the cause of death."

Naifeh, appearing Sunday on the US news programme 60 Minutes, said the brothers may have killed the painter either deliberately or by accident.

"It is difficult to know exactly what happened at that moment," he said.

Jansen said "there are still questions without answers regarding the suicide of Van Gogh," but noted that the "spectacular" theory proposed by the two US writers equally leaves "some questions unanswered."

Naifeh and Smith won a Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for their biography of the artist Jackson Pollock.

Van Gogh, who was born in the Netherlands in March 1853 and moved to Paris in 1886, was heavily influenced by the impressionist movement.

He died in July of 1890.