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Paul Gauguin joined Van Gogh in Arles in November 1888, in order to paint together in what Van Gogh called the ‘studio of the south’, but they quickly started to quarrel. After an argument on 23rd December, Van Gogh mutilated his right ear. He was admitted to hospital, and Gauguin returned to Paris.
Van Gogh wears rough outdoor clothing. Behind him are an easel with a scarcely worked painting, and a print he owned by the Japanese artist Sato Torakiyo (dating from the 1870s). The picture could be a defiant statement of his determination to continue painting.
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear
oil on canvas
H 60.5 x W 50 cm
bequeathed by Samuel Courtauld, 1948