Sebastian Smee’s compelling book, The Art of Rivalry, explores four volatile friendships – between Matisse and Picasso, Manet and Degas, Bacon and Freud, and de Kooning and Pollock. Smee, art critic for The Boston Globe, chronicles the intense relationships of these eight famous artists, charting the breaking points that led each to an artistic breakthrough for each one. Ashleigh Wilson, arts editor for The Australian, talks to him about the nature of influence. 

Sebastian Smee (Australian)

Sebastian Smee is the author of The Art of Rivalry, which has been translated into nine languages, as well as five books on Lucian Freud, and one on Mark Bradford. Since 2008 he has been the art critic for The Boston Globe. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2011. He has written for The Atlantic, The Monthly, The Guardian, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph (UK), The Australian, and The Sydney Morning Herald. He teaches non-fiction writing at Wellesley College.

Ashleigh Wilson (Australian)

Ashleigh Wilson has been a journalist for almost two decades. He began his career at The Australian in Sydney before spending several years in Brisbane. He moved north in 2004 to become the paper’s Darwin correspondent, during which time he won a Walkley Award for reports on unethical behaviour in the Aboriginal art industry. He has been the paper’s arts editor since 2011. The Brett Whiteley biography is his first book.