Friday, May 02, 2008

Augustus John and James Joyce

Cool picture alert. Irish Modernist giant James Joyce with Welsh bohemian fop Augustus John in Paris. It was 1930 and John was in the French capital to complete a sketch of the literary legend.

The Welshman was holed up in a studio in the Rue Delambre. It had a bar downstairs and food could be sent up. One problem though - John was disturbed by the bold pattern of his studio wallpaper. How could he eat in such surroundings? He remedied this dire aesthetic situation by locating a ladder and hanging strips of brown paper over the offending decor! Well, it's what we all would have done.

John completed several drawings of Joyce whilst in Paris. In return the Irishman gave him a French translation of Ulysses. Despite their vastly different personalities (Joyce was very austere) the two men got on surprisingly well. When they finally exchanged goodbyes they embraced in the continental manner.