While bored at on my break at work I thought I would trifle through my hundreds of notifications, from Twitter to Tumblr, skimming the headlines before something caught my eye. Something I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about, someone had bought the gun that Van Gogh was believed to have ended his life with. The weapon sold for $185,504.94, converted from the Euro value of €162,500.00.
Now, there are many theories as to how and why Van Gogh was actually shot, but those theories are covered left and right and one can find hundreds of videos and articles with a quick google search. Even BuzzFeed Unsolved did a video on the tragic event! I am simply concerned with whether or not it is ethical or even morally right to buy such an item, much less at an auction.
It is news to none who have studied Van Gogh, or have even just read a few quick articles on the artist, that he was a troubled man. Some of his most notable works were created while he was in an asylum. In the span of one week, yes, just one week, he created five phenomenal works, one of which being Starry Night. The poor troubled soul was never able to sell this and was tortured over feeling as though he was a burden on his brother and his brothers family, so it is almost unbelievable that after all this time, over one hundred years, someone would want to buy the weapon which was believed to have ended his life.
I, for one, don’t think I would feel comfortable or right owning and treasuring (for lack of better words) such an object, no matter how famous it is thought to be. I feel that we should honor his works and what was created by Van Gogh rather than want what ended his life. But, like many things, it is a matter of opinion and I am interested to hear others views on the topic.