Paul Gauguin joined Van Gogh at The Yellow House in October 1888, and the two lived and worked under the same roof for two months.

They had intense discussions about art, Van Gogh seeing much value in painting from nature whilst Gauguin prioritised the invention of the imagination.

The two painted together and often tackled similar subjects. However their relationship became increasingly strained, and in December 1888, Gauguin wrote to his dealer, Vincent’s brother Theo, that he would be returning to Paris. In addition, Theo became engaged to be married on 21 December.

Was it Gauguin’s threat of leaving, Theo’s engagement or simply Vincent’s own instability that led him to mutilate his ear on 23 December after an argument with Gauguin?

While they never saw each other again after the incident, they continued to exchange letters until the end of Van Gogh’s life.

Find out more


Impressionists and Post Impressionists
With Dr Caroline Campbell, Schroder Foundation Curator of Paintings.

Watch the movie [9:37 min]