Henri Matisse Illustrates 1935 Edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses

matisse ulysses front page

A couple weeks back, we mentioned that you can download a finely-read audio version of James Joyce’s Ulysses for free. What that version doesn’t include — and couldn’t include — are etchings by Henri Matisse. Back in the mid-1930s, George Macey, an American publisher, approached the celebrated painter and asked him how many etchings he could provide for $5,000. Although it’s widely believed that Matisse never read Joyce’s sprawling classic (despite being given a French translation of the text), he did come back with 26 full-page illustrations, all of them based on six themes from Homer’s Odyssey, the epic poem that Ulysses consciously plays upon. In 1935, an illustrated edition of Ulysses was printed. Matisse signed 1500 copies; Joyce only 250. And today a copy signed by both artists will run you a cool $37k. Buy, hey, the shipping is only $6.

Odysseus Blinding Polyphemus


Odysseus and Nausicaa

ulysses matisse drawing

Odysseus’ Ship


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