In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh rented a house in Arles, in southern France, where he hoped to found a colony for artists. He painted a number of works here, such as his paintings of sunflowers. The painter Paul Gauguin came to stay with Van Gogh. However, after a few months, the two began to feud, and on December 23, Van Gogh first threatened Gauguin with a knife and then turned the blade on himself, severing his left ear lobe.
Afterwards, he supposedly gave the severed ear lobe to a local prostitute before going to the hospital. He spent a year in a mental institution in Saint-Remy, where he painted some of his best-known works, such as Starry Night. After he was released, he lived near Paris in Auvers-sur-Oise. He continued to struggle with depression and killed himself at the age of 37 in July of 1890.