The book, The Art of Rivalry, explores four famous friendships of the modern art era. The New York Times credits the author with, “A tantalizing exploration of the role of passion in art.” Sebastian Smee, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for art criticism, looks at the relationship of Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, and Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. Smee shows us how the friendships and rivalries of these famous artists fueled breakthroughs in modern art. The author explores the way an artist often finds his own voice by breaking away from expectations. There is art, and drama in Smee’s book, enough to carry the study group through four weeks of great discussion. The readings will be supplemented with visuals of the artists’ works. Whether or not you appreciate the work of these artists, you will find their lives and creative motivation fascinating. Our text is The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee (Random House, 2017).