Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889 by Vincent van Gogh (1853-90)

Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889 by Vincent van Gogh (1853-90)

World-famous artist Vincent Van Gogh is almost as well know for cutting off his own ear than any of the fantastic paintings he produced in his lifetime.

But in an art world shocker, two German art historians suggest that it was Van Gogh's friend, French artist Paul Gaugin, a fencing ace, who attacked Van Gogh and cut off part of his ear. The two artists then agreed to hide the truth of what really happened.

From the Guardian:

In Van Gogh's Ear: Paul Gauguin and the Pact of Silence, published in Germany, Hamburg-based academics Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans argue that the official version of events, based largely on Gauguin's accounts, contain inconsistencies and that both artists hinted that the truth was more complex.

Kaufmann makes the point that Van Gogh dropped hints in his letters to his brother, Theo:

"Luckily Gauguin ... is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons."

And although it seems like the historians have no "smoking gun" to back up their claims, they argue it explains why in his final recorded words to Gauguin, Van Gogh writes, "You are quiet, I will be, too".

For now, the curators at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam are standing by the widely accepted theory of self-mutilation.

No word on how this will effect business at Van Gogh's Ear Cafe, a coffee lounge in Union, NJ.