Martin Gayford, Bloomberg critic and author of the book The Yellow House (about Gauguin and van Gogh living together in Provence), calls bullshit on the Germans who claim that Gauguin was the one who cut van Gogh's ear off.
This is not the first time it has been suggested that Gauguin might have been the aggressor in this odd art couple. The psychological motive for the suspicion is, I suspect, that many people don’t like Gauguin, and identify with the suffering Van Gogh. That’s the reverse of the effect the two men had in reality. Quite a few contemporaries liked and admired Gauguin; almost everybody, including his brother Theo when they lived together, found Van Gogh’s company unbearable.
This doubleness is so true. For the most part I can't stand Gauguin's paintings, and van Gogh's I can't resist. Still, van Gogh's vulnerability doesn't really benefit from the idea that Gauguin was the aggressor; that would just make van Gogh seem like the victim of something as boring as another man, rather than the victim of himself.