Sebastian Smee on “The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art”

Sebastian Smee

Sebastian Smee

Boston Globe Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Sebastian Smee visits the Clark Art Institute on Friday, November 18 at 7 pm to discuss his acclaimed new work, The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art. The free lecture, followed by a book signing, will be held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion. Reservations are required; to reserve, visit or call 413 458 0524.

Smee examines the complex relationships between eight celebrated artists and explores the admiration, envy, and ambition inherent in the friendships that linked each to a counterpart. The book details rivalries between Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet; Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso; Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock; and Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon as Smee considers the influence each had on the other’s work. A book signing immediately follows the talk.

Calling the book “gripping,” The New York Times said, “Mr. Smee’s skills as a critic are evident throughout. He is persuasive and vivid…. You leave this book both nourished and hungry for more about the art, its creators and patrons, and the relationships that seed the ground for moments spent at the canvas.”

Sebastian Smee has been The Boston Globe’s art critic since 2008. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2011. He joined the Globe’s staff from Sydney, Australia, where he had worked as national art critic for The Australian. Prior to that, he lived for four years in the United Kingdom, where he wrote for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Art Newspaper, The Independent, Prospect magazine, and The Spectator. He has contributed to five books on Lucian Freud. Smee teaches nonfiction writing at Wellesley College.

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