Pulitzer Prize-winning Sebastian Smee reveals how love and betrayal shaped the careers of eight famous artists
Sebastian Smee is the arts critic for the Boston Globe, and has written for the Australian, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, Independent on Sunday, Art Newspaper and the Spectator. He is the author of the books Lucian Freud and Side by Side: Picasso v Matisse. He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his 'vivid and exuberant writing about art, often bringing great works to life with love and appreciation'.
Intriguing ... Smee writes beautifully ... tantalising -- Lynn Barber * Sunday Times * Elegant ... accomplished -- Michael Prodger * The Times * A spirited account ... recounted with exceptional sympathy and lucidity ... Smee skilfully interweaves, the personal - including the sexual and emotional - with the artistic and, however widely he circles, eventually closes in oh his essential theme: a moment of revelation and a crucial breakthrough in painting ... vivid. -- Roger Malbert * The Art Newspaper * Lively and engaging -- Kathryn Hughes * Mail on Sunday * A fascinating examination ... This is art history as human friction - one in the eye for those who think art is a high-minded enterprise. * Tatler * The keynotes of Sebastian Smee's criticism have always included a fine feeling for the what of art - he knows how to evoke the way pictures really strike the eye - and an equal sense of the how of art: how art emerges from the background of social history. To these he now adds a remarkable capacity for getting down the who of art - the enigma of artist's personalities, and the way that, two at a time, they can often intersect to reshape each in the other(1)s image. With these gifts all on the page together, The Art of Rivalry gives us a remarkable and engrossing book on pretty much the whole of art. * Adam Gopnik * A magnificent book on the relationships at the roots of artistic genius. Smee offers a gripping tale of the fine line between friendship and competition, tracing how the ties that torment us most are often the ones that inspire us most. * Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take * Modern art's major pairs of frenemies are a subject so fascinating, it's strange to have a book on it only now - and a stroke of luck, for us, that the author is Sebastian Smee. He brings the perfect combination of artistic taste and human understanding, and a prose style as clear as spring water, to the drama and occasional comedy of men who inspired and annoyed one another to otherwise inexplicable heights of greatness. * Peter Schjeldahl, art critic of the New Yorker *