Art Wars: Wilde vs. Whistler

When the creators of beautiful work fight, things can get ugly. Enter Art Wars, the show where we explore art history’s greatest rivalries in the words of the artists themselves.

In our premiere episode, it was a clash of the British Romantics, with (spoiler alert) John Keats pwning his longtime artistic nemesis, Lord Byron. This week, we’ve got an interdisciplinary battle royale on our hands.

Long before the world had heard of Ireland’s Oscar Wilde, American painter James Whistler had cemented his reputation as the O.G. Yankee Doodle dandy. In fact, Wilde was so fascinated by Whistler’s trademark style and wit that he began to adopt many of his mannerisms. At first, Whistler was flattered. But, as the young writer’s popularity began to eclipse his own, a once-beautiful friendship quickly turned into the kind of passive aggressive showdown that would make even Regina George blush.

Check out the video above to find out which wit prevailed.