Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun (born Lucy Schwob) was born in Nantes, France, in 1894. After studying at Oxford and at the Sorbonne, Cahun moved to Paris where she published essays and short stories in various magazines. From 1914 on, she focused her work on self-portraits in various masks, costumes and make-ups. Throughout her lifetime she fostered confusion about her identity; her pseudonym, Claude, which in French can be applied both to men and women, was symbolic of the provisional nature of her sexual identity. In 1930, Paris publishers Carrefour published her autobiographical work "Aveux non avenus" with photomontages by her and Suzanne Malherbe, alias Marcel Moore. In 1937, she and Suzanne Malherbe became active in the French Resistance and distributed pamphlets, posters and manifestos. In 1944, they were arrested by the Gestapo and sentenced to death. In 1945, they were pardoned but remained in prison until liberation in May 1945. She passed away in 1954.

Courtesy of Jersey Heritage Collection.

Claude Cahun is featured in Edition: Guest Editor, Price Latimer Agah

Self-Portrait (in cupboard) (1932)
Self-Portrait (reflected image in mirror, checqued jacket) (1928)