Contact Us

                        The Gisèle Freund Photographs of James Joyce

Display Case 1, part 2

T.S. Eliot reads his poems at Shakespeare and Co. 1936

T. S. Eliot

Sylvia Beach never made a profit from publishing James Joyce's Ulysses -- in fact, she went into debt to bring the masterpiece into the world. 

After Random House bought the rights to publish Ulysses in the United States for a hefty sum, Joyce simply asked Beach for the copyright, leaving her with nothing.

In order to help raise money for Beach's Shakespeare & Co. during difficult economic times, famous authors would give readings to raise money for the bookshop. Here, T. S. Eliot gives a reading in support of Beach. 

Inscription verso in Freund's hand: "T.S. Eliot reads his poems at Shakespeare and Co."

Letter from Gisèle Freund to Marie Rodell

A Literary Agent & Collaborator

Freund was conflicted about how the book should take shape: should it be just about Joyce, or the Paris scene in general? Here, she asks for her literary agent's advice on what photographs should be included.

Dear Marie,

I just arrived last night from Switzerland and found a letter from your very charming friend Audry inviting me to dinner. Apparently I missed her by only three days. Please tell her how sorry I am. 

In Zurich, I saw Dr. Gasser, the editor of “DU” which is considered one of the most important literary and art magazines in Europe. (German language) He wants to publish a selection of the Joyce pictures, but as this is a project for next year, there is still time to work out details. Please let me know if you have no objections to Joyce pix published in a magazine in Switzerland. 

In going through the Joyce pictures once again, I have begun to have serious doubts about including the portraits of Virginia Woolf, Shaw, Wells and other English writers who did not have contact with Joyce while he was in Paris but who were not in Paris themselves. I wonder if you shouldn’t take these out, leaving only T.S. Eliot reading in Sylvia Beach’s bookshop. 

Hope you are well,



Victoria [Vita] Sackville-West in the 30s - Dans son studio a Sissinghurst Castle au fond la photo de Virginia Woolf, sa grande amie

Vita Sackville-West

Vita Sackville-West, novelist and poet, was friend and lover of Virginia Woolf, as well as Woolf's inspiration for the novel, Orlando

When Freund travelled, her reputation often preceded her. She photographed great writers on both sides of the channel. 

Inscription verso, in Freund's hand: "La romancière anglaise Victoria Sackville-West in the 30s dans son studio a Sissinghurst Castle. Au fond la photo de Virginia Woolf, sa grande amie"

[The English novelist, Victoria Sackville-West in the 30s in her studio at Sissinghurst Castle. In the background is a picture of Virginia Woolf, her best friend.]

W. H. Auden

W. H. Auden

W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender frequented Shakespeare & Co. often. Gisèle visited the two lovers often, and her letters and notes reveal her care in keeping their relationship--illegal at the time--secret. 

Auden thought Joyce should be "judged not as a novelist, 'but as a great poet.'"

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Freund's aperture also caught the eye of many artists, including Henri Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst, among many others. This is a black and white print of a colour photograph Freund shot in 1948. 

In 1935, Matisse was hired to illustrate Joyce's Ulysses--even though he never read the book. Matisse drew 26 full-page illustrations. Out of the 1500 books printed, Joyce only signed 250 of them. 

Display Case 1: Writers in Paris
Display Case 1, part 3