This British Art Gallery Recently Removed Vincent van Gogh Memorabilia, Here’s Why

A London art gallery recently removed memorabilia related to the famous painter Vincent van Gogh from its gift shop.

A member of gallery staff looks at a painting titled ‘Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear’ by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh at the Courtauld Gallery in London. AFP

A London art gallery recently removed memorabilia related to the famous painter Vincent van Gogh from its gift shop.

The Dutch master is considered one of the most influential and famous figures in the history of Western art.

Most of his famous works were done during the last two years of his life. They include The Starry Night (1889), The Sower (1888), Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889), The Siesta (1890) and Wheat Field with Crows (1890).

Let’s take a look at the gift items in question and what happened:

The Courtauld Gallery in London had listed two items for sale and then removed them from its gift shop and online sales platform relating to Dutch Post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh.

The art gallery has been criticized by some art commentators who have claimed the products downplay mental health issues.

According to a report by NC, the art gallery, located in London’s Somerset House, had put an ear-shaped eraser on sale for £6 in apparent reference to the Dutch artist cutting off his left ear.

The Courtauld Gallery has also received heavy criticism on social media for another item, a soap described as “ideal for the tortured artist who loves fluffy bubbles”, playing on the trope of a tortured artist.

Note that the controversial souvenirs were sold alongside the exhibition “Van Gogh. Self-portraits” at the gallery which will continue until May.

The gallery was also selling a greeting card in the form of Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait showing his bandaged ear.

Deeply offended by the items on sale, Charles Thomson, co-founder of artist group Stuckist, told the Daily mail: “Suicide is no joke and mental illness is no joke.”

“It’s superficial, nasty and insensitive… What’s next? Van Gogh’s suicide pistol? he says in the same report.

A rather commercially unsuccessful painter during his lifetime, Van Gogh was known to be a heavy drinker and suffered from mental health issues throughout his life.

It is believed that he suffered from either bipolar disorder or temporal lobe epilepsy, a disorder of the nervous system.

After an argument with another artist, Paul Gauguin, Van Gogh cut off his left ear in 1888.

In 1889, he drew Self-portrait with bandaged ear.

Later, he spent more than a year in the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy and, in 1890, at only 37 years old, shot himself in the chest.

He died two days later.

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