Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun ( pronounced [klod kəˈœ̃] ; born Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob,  – 8 December 1954), was a French  Surrealist photographer and writer . Her work often attempted to undermine the traditional roles of men and women by presenting them as sexual equals. She adopted the name Claude Cahun in 1920 after her father’s death.

Niece of author  Marcel Schwob , Cahun was born in Nantes and studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts de Nantes (1908–1911) and at the Académie Julian in Paris (1911–1920) under William-Adolphe Bouguereau .

Her first published photographs appeared in “La Révolution surréaliste”. She was also associated with the anti-Nazi resistance group “Resistance”: during World War II she adopted the name Claude Courlis (“curlew”). Arrested by the Gestapo , she would ultimately be captured, interrogated, tortured, and deported to Ravensbr.

she is considered today as one of the most influential artists of her generation. cited by Roland Barthes in his essay “Camera Lucida” (1980) as an influence on his reflections aboutously . She was also a writer and contributed articles to various journals, as well as publishing two books: On Nietzsche (1935) and Aveux non avenus (“Disavowed Confessions”, 1940).

She died in Paris.

Cahun’s work is often considered surrealist photography, though she herself intensely disliked the label. Her photographs present highly staged scenes, similar to those of theatre or film. Often these theatrical settings contain allusions or symbols of lesbian sexuality such as military uniforms, empty picture frames and double beds . She was associated with the Paris-based group of  Surrealists  that included André Breton , Paul Éluard , René Crevel , Pierre Naville , Robert Desnos , Georges Batail

Her work has provided inspiration for writers, film directors and musicians including Philippe Garrel, Michael Hoppe, James Kelsey, Stéphane Mallarmé, Walter Pfeiffer, Jean-Luc Godard , Olivier Lartigot, Lawrence Weiner , Simone Veil , Elfriede Jelinek , Lisa Appignanesi .

and Kate Bush . She is also considered an extensive writer: not only did she produce many essays, Cahun also wrote novels plays and poems that were published posthumously, along with an extensive body of photographic work. Photographs from the Cahun oeuvre entered the collections of both the  National Library of France  and the  Bibliothèque nationale de France  in 2009.

Claude Cahun was born as Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob in Nantes , Brittany , on either October or November 1894 to a family of intellectuals and writers . Her father Marcel Schwob was a writer and her mother Andrée Alexandrine Marie Dufour taught English. She had two brothers, Robert and Maurice, who would both go on to become writers themselves. As a teenager she worked as a model for her uncle Adolphe William Bouguerau, a well-known painter in Nantes, who encouraged her artistic ambitions .

She studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts de Nantes from 1908 to 1911 under William-Adolphe Bouguereau and, later, Académie Julian , Paris.  In 1912 she moved to Paris with her mother and brothers where she attended the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs studying under Eugène Grasset ead more »

Cahun’s work is often considered surrealist photography, though she herself intensely disliked the label. Her photographs present highly staged scenes, similar to those of theatre or film. Often these theatrical settings contain all or symbols of lesbian sexuality such as military uniforms, empty picture frames and double beds. in 1930 she is a member of a Parisian group surrealists with Paul Éluard , Benjamin Péret, Joan Miró , Yves Tanguy , Pierre Naville and André Breton . During the thirties, Cahun contributed to the publications “Minotaure,” “Circle” and “Cahiers d’art.”

During World War II she adopted the name Claude Courlis (“curlew”) when she joined an anti-Nazi resistance group in Paris. She was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 for her work with the French Resistance and was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where she would die of malnutrition on December 8th, 1944.

 

 

Articles:

Roland Barthes, “Notes on photography” (1967)

“Les Parisiennes: Photographs by Lucien Clergue and Claude Cahun” (2006)

Michèle Crogiez-Pagès, “Claude Cahun: Crossings and Displacements in the Photographic Landscape” (2009)

Lionel Soukaz and Louis-Georges Tin, “‘A Broken Mirror Reflecting a Social Landscape Torn Apart’: The Photographed Body of Claude Cahun.” Camera Obscura , vol. 17 no. 2 1996 , pp . 70 –93(2007)

Arielle Pelenc , “Claude Cahun’s Masks of Love” (2010)

Books:

André Breton, Nadja , tr. Richard Howard, New York: Grove Press, 1960 , pp. 22–23

Nadine Fresco, “The Reticent Images of Claude Cahun” in Richard Field (ed.), Claude Cahun . St. Louis : Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, 1993 , p . 15 Richard Field, ed., Claude Cahun . St. Louis : Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, 1993

Caroline Goodson and Duncan White (eds), Framing the Victorians. Exhibition catalogue Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery 1996-7 . Bristol : City Museum and Art Gallery in association with Leicester University Press, 1996 pp. 12–13

Hélène Vivienne Wenzel, “The Seductive Subversion of Claude Cahun’s Photomontages” in Peter Wollen and Jenny Bulme (eds), Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan . Chicago : The University of Chicago Press , 1995 , p. 243

Marcel L’Herbier , Entretiens avec Claude Cahun . Marseille : Musée Cantini , 2005

Jill Lloyd , ed., Claude Cahun: A Retrospective . London : Camden Arts Centre in association with Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd., 1983 Lucie Fabius et Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Claude Cahun: Photographs . Paris : Christian Bourgois, 1978

Christiane Blaise , ed., “Claude Cahun by herself” Cahiers d’Art , No. 17, Autumn 1955

More biographical information can be found at the following sites: http://www.luminous-lint.com/app/article.asp?id=543&page=1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Cahun https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Cahun

Pictures of her work and a short biography is available here: http://artgallerycollection.blogspot.com/2014/09/claude-cahun.html

http://www.gallerymariko.com/artiste/claude_cahun_296 http://www.paris1900.lartnouveau.com/ClaudeCahun/accueil2/accueil2fichepagina2intro1.htm https://sorbonne2022.wordpress.com/expositions-des-oeuvres/artistes-contemporains-et-modernes/?lang=en http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/livres-idees/litterature-bd/biographies/laurent-thery–claude-cahun-de-la-drague-a-lart-etrangere-comprendre-enfin-ces%E2%80%99oeuvres/143231

http://www.cameralibros.com/libro/claude_cahun_88791

https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=mLSs5QwAACoC&pg=PA21&dq=Claude+Cahun&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-Z6ZVbD0JKPt9gTnm4GIBQ&ved=0CEIQ6AEwBA

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