In this frank and intimate portrait, artist Jared French (1905–1988) gazes candidly out at the viewer. Paul Cadmus painted it while he and French were traveling in Europe. At the time the two were involved in a relationship. Cadmus depicts French holding a copy of Ulysses by Irish author James Joyce (1882–1941). From its publication in 1922 the book was controversial, inciting scrutiny ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual battles. In 1931, when this portrait was painted, the groundbreaking book would have symbolized everything young American sophisticates Cadmus and French considered desirably European and avant-garde.