Art: Broker to South Seas

On Christmas 1888 at Arles in Southern France a young painter with a hooked nose called at the house of his best friend. Police and neighbors, all shouting excitedly, stood before the yellow door. Up rushed the red-faced chief of police.

"What have you done to your friend?" he yelled. "Yes, you know well enough. He's dead!"

Under a sheet upstairs lay the bloody body of Vincent van Gogh minus one ear. Artist van Gogh was not dead but in a cataleptic trance. He had cut off his own ear by way of self-punishment. Paul...

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