Cahun, Claude (1894–1954)

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Cahun, Claude (1894–1954)

French photographer. Born Lucy Schwob in France in 1894; died in Jersey, England, in 1954; daughter of Maurice Schwob; niece of Marcel Schwob, son of the publisher of Le Phare (The Lighthouse), a newspaper in Nantes, France.

Specializing in Surrealist photographs and photomontages, Claude Cahun launched her career in 1930, with the 200-page Surrealist text (Cancelled Confessions), containing 10 photomontages. In 1934, she was part of the Surrealist Exhibition of Objects at the Galerie Charles Ratton, in Paris, where she showed a mixed media construction. She was also associated with Georges Bataille's group, Contre-Attaque, founded in 1935. Her later work included illustrations for a book of poems, The Pick-Axe Heart, by Lise Deharme . For some time it was believed that Cahun, a Jew, died in a concentration camp during World War II. Recently, however, it was discovered that she moved to the Channel Islands in 1939, where she was arrested by the Nazis (1944) and subsequently indicted and imprisoned until February 1945.

suggested reading:

Rosemont, Penelope. Surrealist Women: An International Anthology. TX: University of Texas, 1998.

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