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The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee (Profile, £16.99)

smeeIn 1868, Degas painted a husband-and-wife portrait of Édouard and Suzanne Manet, he reclining on a couch, she playing the piano. Degas gave the painting to his friend, only for Manet, inexplicably, to put a knife through it and excise the right-hand third—including half of Suzanne’s body and all of her instrument. On Degas’s death, 50 years later, the slashed painting would be found, prominently displayed, at his home. This is one of many…

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