The Easel

Picasso, Manet, Degas and others’ rivalry revealed by Sebastian Smee

‘Frenemies’ can push artists to greater achievement. A highly praised study of four famous rivalries shows how competitive tensions benefited each party’s artistic development. Picasso resisted Matisse’s ideas about African design before brilliantly incorporating them in his own work. Having seen Picasso take that step, Matisse in turn realised Picasso was as an “electrifying innovator” whom he might learn from.