The gun Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh is believed to have used to commit suicide in France in 1890, shooting himself in the chest after years of mental anguish, sold for 130,000 euros ($145,700) at auction in Paris on Wednesday.
An anonymous phone bidder took home the Lefaucheux revolver, its casing heavily rusted and the inlay of the curved handle missing, for more than double the highest estimate put on it by experts at auction house Drouot.
“It is a very emblematic piece,” said auctioneer Gregoire Veyres. “The fact that it’s a gun, it’s an object of death. And if Van Gogh is Van Gogh, it’s because of his suicide and this gun is part of it.”
Van Gogh suffered bouts of psychosis and deep depression throughout his life, with his torment often infusing his art, whether intensely painted self portraits or other notable works including The Starry Night and Sunflowers.
He is also notorious for having chopped off part of his own left ear with a razor blade during an argument with fellow artist Paul Gauguin.
Van Gogh died at Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris in July 1890, aged just 37, more than two days after shooting himself in the chest in a wheat field where he had previously painted.