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The Art of Rivalry

Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art

The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee
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Shortlisted for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Award (non-fiction)

Genius, friend, rival: this is the story of four pairs of artists whose intense relationships spurred and shaped their art.

Matisse and Picasso. Manet and Degas. Bacon and Freud. De Kooning and Pollock. Eight of the most significant modern artists; four pairs linked by friendship and a shared spirit of competitiveness. But in each case the relationship had a flashpoint, a damaging psychological event that seemed to mark both an end and a beginning, a break that led to audacious creative innovations.

Absorbing, informed and provocative, Sebastian Smee’s The Art of Rivalry takes us to heart of each of these relationships. It offers revelatory insights into the ways in which these major artists influenced and changed each other—and into their ultimate quest ‘to be unique, original, inimitable; to acquire the solitude, the singularity, of greatness’.

‘It made me laugh and it made me think.’ Wendy Whiteley, Australian Financial Review

The Text Publishing Company; August 2016
396 pages; ISBN 9781922253163
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Title: The Art of Rivalry
Author: Sebastian Smee
 

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