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Letter by Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Describing their Brothel 'Excursions' Sells for Rs 1.8 Crore

Image credit: Reuters (Image for representation)

Image credit: Reuters (Image for representation)

Vincent Van Gogh painter had been living in Arles since February 1888. At the time of writing, he had been joined by Gauguin whom he had met two years ago in France.

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A letter, co-written by artists Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, outlining their brothel visits, has been sold for a whopping sum of Rs 1.8 crores.

The rare letter, the only one known to have been co-written by the Post-Impressionist era stalwarts, was written in the city of Arles in France in November 1888 where Van Gogh had been staying at the time.

Written to fellow Post-Impressionist Emile Bernard, the letter outlines the excesses the two artistes indulged in while visiting French brothels in late 19th century France.

The Dutch painter had been living in Arles since February 1888. At the time of writing, he had been joined by Gauguin whom he had met two years ago in France.

The four-page letter was handwritten and shortly preceded some of Van Gogh's famous artworks such as the "Sunflowers" series, "Bedroom in Arles" and "Van Gogh's Chair".

The letter, which went on auction on Tuesday along with other letters written by Gauguin and fetched 210,000 euros ($237,000 or Rs 1,80,50,512).

Some excerpts of the letter were published by CNN in which Van Gogh described Gauguin as "unspoiled creature" who possessed the "instincts of a wild beast."

The artist also described their brothel "excursions", adding that he was sure they would often be going there to work. The letter also contained details about paintings that both he and Gauguin were working on at the time.

While this may the only letter Van Gogh wrote along with Gauguin, it is not at all the only letter that the Dutch artists wrote in his lifetime. In fact, much of what we know about the troubled artist's life is through his correspondence with his brother, confidante and patron Theo with whom he discussed his life, financial and mental troubles, even love life and artistic influences.

Van Gogh's relation to brothels has also been analysed by art historians to understand his artworks better. In his lifetime, the artist has been known to visit brothels regularly and even have relationships with his mistresses and brothel workers. In an infamous incident, the disturbed artist cut off his ear in December 1888 (the same year as the letter was written) and delivered it to a brothel in Arles. Art historians believe that this act of self-mutilation put a decisive end to his friendship with Gauguin.

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