My daughter and I went to the Manet/Degas show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City a few weeks ago.
I teared up reading the description at the front of the exhibit:
“Manet and Degas were born just two years apart, both the eldest sons of Parisian upper-middle-class families, yet their differing temperaments led to strikingly distinct styles, political views, career strategies, and approaches to different media. Although they rarely worked side by side, each took stock of the other’s work, distilling it until it became foundational for his own project or, perhaps just as interesting, never integrating it at all. Given the scarce primary evidence of their complex relationship, direct comparison of their works is even more crucial, allowing us to assess how these giants of French painting defined themselves with and against each other.”
I was emotional thinking about how two people who competed against each other, who held different viewpoints, also spurred each other to do better work.
Perhaps the “rivalry” was exaggerated for the purposes of selling tickets but it made me think about what’s possible when we come together because of our differences not in spite of them.
P.S. The artwork was great but the Henry Taylor exhibit at the Whitney blew my 🤯.