The Artist's Studio Sale; by descent
Note: Rare original study for JAMES JOYCE’S masterpiece ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, 1929 - featuring Anna Livia Plurabelle.
"When I returned to Paris in 1929 Joyce sent me to show my work to Sylvia Beach and to Adrienne Nomdries [possibly Monnier], who was most appreciative. About this time he also asked me if I would like to do a few illustrations for 'Finnegans Wake', which was appearing in instalments in 'transition'. I was a bit alarmed about this as I was young and was always rather afraid of Joyce--he was so silent and I rarely spoke to him.
One late afternoon I had called for Lucia and was sitting waiting for her when he came into the room and, taking no notice of me, he went to the piano and with his head bowed over his hands, accompanying himself, he sang some melancholy Irish songs in a low, sad, voice. I said 'You must miss Ireland'. He replied, 'I do'. I said, 'Would you not like to go back?' He replied, 'No. They jeer too much.'
I agreed to try some illustrations for him for 'Finnegans Wake'. He read passages from the part he suggested to me. I think it was old Ondt's funeral and the rivers of the world holding the train of Anna Livia (the Liffey). I am afraid I understood nothing. He said I had a smattering of a couple of languages and might get something from it, and drew my attention to the musical quality of the language. Today I would have said I understood him, but I am afraid at that age I didn't lie, and so had to admit to him that I did not.”
Stella Steyn memoir