© Erich Hartmann Estate / Magnum Photos / courtesy CLAIRbyKahn
Erich Hartmann, German/American, 1922 - 1999
Title: James Joyce's Dublin (Room Interior), 1964
Date: 1964
Medium: Gelatin silver print
15 x 22 cm
Signed: On verso: Ruth Hartmann (the Artist's wife)
Credit Line: Purchased, 2018
Object Number: NGI.2018.117
DescriptionErich Hartmann visited Dublin for the first time in 1964. He had already explored the city extensively in his imagination, ever since he first read James Joyce’s Ulysses. But now he came in reality, and he brought his cameras. Eager to understand the strange mix that spawned great artistry but repelled the artist, he wandered the city searching out every place and incident of Joyce’s fictional June day sixty years before. This search resulted in more than an evocation of a novel. It is a record of Erich Hartmann’s own journey of discovery through Dublin, captured in over 3,000 images.
In James Joyce’s Dublin (Room Interior) Hartmann positions the viewer inside a room that would appear to serve a range of purposes from washing to reading. A clothesline cuts across the composition of the room with a number of shirts clipped onto it by large wooden pegs. To the left of the window are stacks of books piled in and on top of wooden shelves. Wallpaper peels away from the wall lining the background of the image up to the depiction of Jesus. The peeling wallpaper cast in shadow stands in contrast to the rest of the room which is bathed in light from the window. There is a strong sense of someone living in this space- a chair is pulled out; a washing basin has been placed against the wall and laundry has been hung out to dry. There is a sense of disorder when first looking at the photograph with a large number of objects in a small space, but what we are witnessing is organised clutter, something viewers can likely relate to. The room is quiet now, but one gets the sense that it will soon be full of activity again.
ProvenanceErich and Ruth Hartmann, 1964-2007; Clair by Kahn Gallery, 2007; purchased, Clair by Kahn Gallery, Zurich, 2018
Inscriptionon verso (in pencil, print code): 64-30 48/32-33A p.654