Woman who received Van Gogh's ear named 130 years after artist cut it off
Gabrielle Berlatier, a farmer’s daughter, was given Vincent Van Gogh’s ear when she was working as a maid at a brothel
The recipient of Vincent van Gogh’s ear has been named almost 130 years after the artist cut it off in Paris.
The Art Newspaper reported
that after the incident on 23 December 1888, Van Gogh gave it to a
young woman named Gabrielle Berlatier. She was referred to in a new book
published last week – Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story. The author,
Bernadette Murphy, wrote that she promised Berlatier’s descendants to
keep her name a secret.
However, the Art Newspaper was able to determine her identity by searching records at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
“Identifying her throws fresh light on the bizarre incident in which Van Gogh cut off nearly all his ear,” wrote Martin Bailey, whose book about Van Gogh in Provence is published later this year.
Murphy’s book details how Gabrielle was treated at the Institut
Pasteur in early 1888 for rabies after being bitten by a dog. Berlatier,
a farmer’s daughter who lived near Arles in Provence, was taken to
Paris and given a new anti-rabies vaccine that saved her life.
“Until now it has been assumed that the recipient of the ear had been
a casual acquaintance of the artist, either a prostitute or the madame
at the brothel,” Bailey wrote in the Art Newspaper.