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Loser of 2022: Gallery sells offensive Van Gogh gifts

portrait of van gogh and the eraser and bar of soap available to buy at the courtauld gallery

An art gallery has come under fire for selling a souvenir which some guests have branded inappropriate and offensive to those struggling with their mental health.

London’s Courtauld Gallery is currently displaying work by Van Gogh who famously cut off his left ear following a heated argument with fellow artist Paul Gauguin.

To co-inside with the art visitors to Courtauld can buy an assortment of Van Gogh related gifts such as jigsaws, socks, postcards and print mementoes of the Dutch painter’s work. But the souvenirs have been criticised for sensationalising the artist’s mental health which led to his suicide.

The items which have upset visitors the most are the bars of soap which is being sold for £5 marketed for “the tortured artist who enjoys fluffy bubbles”, an eraser shaped as an ear and an “emotional first aid kit”, priced at £16, is described as “a box of wise emergency advice for 20 key psychological situations”.

Charles Thomson, a co-founder of the Stuckist group of artists, expressed his disappointment to the Mail on Sunday saying: “Suicide is not a joke and mental illness is not a joke.”

“This is shallow, nasty and insensitive.

“What next? Van Gogh’s suicide pistol?”

Art critic David Lee, editor of The Jackdaw magazine, was also disgusted with the marketing campaign.

“I can’t believe this isn’t someone in marketing’s attempt at tasteless humour in the pub after work,” he told the publication.

“Would they, for example, be prepared to sell pencils in the shape of a false leg at a Frida Kahlo exhibition?” he added in reference to the Mexican artist amputee who lost a leg to gangrene.

Van Gough. Self-Portraits exhibition can be viewed at The Courtauld Gallery until 8 May 2022.

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