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Interesting and Fun Facts about French Photographer Claude Cahun



Interesting and Fun Facts about French Photographer Claude Cahun

Search engine giant Google celebrates the 127th birthday of French surrealist photographer, sculptor, and writer Claude Cahun with an animated Doodle on October 25, 2021. She is most popular as a writer and self-portraitist, who assumed a variety of performative personae.

Claude Cahun 127th Birthday Google Doodle
Google Doodle on Claude Cahun’s 127th birthday

Here is a look at the life and work of Claude Cahun.


  • Birth name: Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob
  • Birthdate: 25 October 1894
  • Birthplace: Nantes, France
  • Died on: 8 December 1954 (aged 60)
  • Death place: Saint Helier, Jersey
  • Father name: Maurice Schwob
  • Mother name: Mary-Antoinette Courbebaisse
  • Nationality: French
  • Sun sign: Scorpio
  • Education:
    • Parsons Mead School in Surrey
    • University of Paris, Sorbonne
  • Famous as: Artist, Photographer, Writer
  • Known for: Photography, writing, sculpture, collage

Interesting Facts about Claude Cahun

  1. Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob adopted the gender-ambiguous name Claude Cahun in 1917 and is most popular for self-portraits, in which they expected a variety of personae.
  1. Claude Cahun’s work was both political and personal, and frequently undermined traditional concepts of static gender roles. They once clarified: “Under this mask, another mask; I will never finish removing all these faces.”
  1. At the point when Claude Cahun was four years of age, their mother, Mary-Antoinette Courbebaisse, started suffering from mental illness, which eventually prompted their permanent internment at a psychiatric facility. Because of the absence of their mother, Cahun was raised by their grandmother, Mathilde Cahun.
  1. Claude Cahun went to a private school (Parsons Mead School) in Surrey after experiences against Semitism at their secondary school in Nantes. He went to the University of Paris, Sorbonne.
  1. They started making photographic self-portraits as early as 1912 (aged 18) and kept taking pictures of themselves through the 1930s.
  1. Around 1919, they changed her name to Claude Cahun, after having previously used the names Claude Courlis (after the curlew) and Daniel Douglas (after Lord Alfred Douglas).
  1. During the mid-1920s, Claude Cahun settled in Paris with their lifelong partner and step-sibling Suzanne Malherbe, who adopted the pseudonym, Moore. For the rest of their coexistences, Cahun and Moore teamed up on different written works, sculptures, photomontages, and collages.
  1. The two published articles and novels, prominently in the periodical Mercure de France, and become friends with Henri Michaux, Pierre Morhange, and Robert Desnos.
  1. In Paris, Claude Cahun studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne. Around 1922 Claude and Moore started holding artists’ salons at their homes. Among the regulars who might go to were artists Henri Michaux and André Breton and literary entrepreneurs Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier.
  1. Claude Cahun’s works incorporated writing, photography, and theatre. They are most associated with their exceptionally staged self-portraits and tableaux that joined the visual style of Surrealism.
  1. During the 1920s, Claude Cahun produced a surprising number of self-portraits in different appearances like aviator, dandy, doll, bodybuilder, vamp and vampire, angel, and Japanese puppet.
  1. A significant number of Claude Cahun’s portraits feature their gazing straight toward the watcher, with their head shaved, frequently uncovering just their head and shoulders (eliminating her body from seeing), and a blurring of gender indicators and behaviors which serve to undermine the patriarchal gaze.
  1. Their published writings include “Heroines,” (1925) a series of monologues dependent on female fairy tale characters and interlacing them with witty comparisons to the contemporary picture of women; Aveux non avenus, (Carrefour, 1930) a book of essays and recorded dreams delineated with photomontages; and a few essays in magazines and journals.
  1. In 1932, Claude Cahun joined the Association des Écrivains et Artistes Révolutionnaires, where they met André Breton and René Crevel. Following this, they began to partner with the surrealist group and later took part in various surrealist exhibitions, including the London International Surrealist Exhibition (New Burlington Gallery) and Exposition surréaliste d’Objets (Charles Ratton Gallery, Paris), both in 1936.
  1. Claude Cahun’s photo of Sheila Legge standing in Trafalgar Square with her head obscured by a flower arrangement with pigeons perching on their outstretched arms from the London exhibition showed up in various newspapers and later recreated in various books.
  1. In 1934, Claude Cahun published a short polemic essay, Les Paris sont Ouverts, and in 1935 participated in the establishing of the left-wing anti-fascist alliance Contre Attaque, close by André Breton and Georges Bataille. Breton called Cahun “one of the most curious spirits of our time.”
  1. In July 1944, be that as it may, the couple were arrested, accused of paying attention to the BBC and actuating the soldiers to rebellion, and sentenced to death. They were kept in separate cells for close to 12 months, being liberated distinctly with the liberation of the island in May 1945. After getting back they found that much of their art had been obliterated by the Nazis.
  1. In 1951, Claude Cahun was awarded the Medal of French Gratitude for being part of the opposition. Cahun died in 1954 after battling with poor health for some time, likely compounded when spent in jail.
  1. In 1994 the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London held an exhibition of Claude Cahun’s photographic self-portraits from 1927–47, close by crafted by two youthful contemporary British artists, Virginia Nimarkoh and Tacita Dean, entitled Mise en Scene. In the surrealist self-portraits, Cahun represented themselves as an androgyne, nymph, model, and soldier.
  1. In 2007, David Bowie made a multi-media exhibition of Claude Cahun’s work in the gardens of the General Theological Seminary in New York. It was part of a venue called the Highline Festival, which additionally included contributions via Air, Laurie Anderson, Mike Garson, and Ricky Gervais.
  1. Claude Cahun’s work was frequently a collaboration with Marcel Moore. Cahun and Moore worked together frequently, however, this frequently goes unrecognized. It is believed that Moore was frequently the person standing behind the camera during Cahun’s portrait shoots and was an equal partner in their collages.
  1. In 1937 Claude Cahun and Moore settled in Jersey. Following the fall of France and the German occupation of Jersey and the other Channel Islands, they became active as opposition laborers and propagandists.
  1. Claude Cahun’s gathered writings were published in 2002 as Claude Cahun – Écrits (ISBN 2-85893-616-1), edited by François Leperlier.
  1. In 2018, a road of Paris took the name of “Allée Claude Cahun – Marcel Moore” (area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés – Montparnasse, close to the regret Notre-Dame-des-Champs where Lucie and Suzanne lived).
  1. Exhibitions of her work have been going on starting around 1936 throughout the world, including Canada’s Presentation House Gallery, 1998; Essen’s Museum Folkwang, 1998; New York’s Gray Art Gallery, 1999 and 2000; Barcelona’s La Virreina Centre de la picture, 2011 and 2012; and at a lot more locations. She died on December 8th, 1954.
  1. Claude Cahun’s work has likewise been influential for celebrity figures breaking down gender binaries like David Bowie. In 2007, Bowie produced an exhibition of Cahun’s work in New York.
  1. On October 25, 2021, Google honored Claude Cahun on her 127th birthday with an animated Google Doodle by showing in various countries.
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