Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun (* 25. October 1894 in Nantes, France; † 8. December 1954 on jersey) was common an authoress and a Photographin, those with its life companion Suzanne mark-harsh (* 19. July 1892 in Nantes; † 1972 on jersey) in of Paris of the 20's and 30's-years an artist salon maintained. Their work is assigned to the Surrealismus.

As a daughter of the wohlsituierten intellectual family Schwob Claude Cahun enjoyed good training and it was already promptly possible for it to publish and artistically work in magazines of texts. Together with its stepsister and life companion Suzanne mark-harsh operated it 15 years long an artist salon in Paris. It photographed, collagierte, played in surrealistischen plays also, wrote and operated in the circle of the Surrealisten around André Breton. In its writings and by means of their photographic work it wandt against fascism and fenced themselves time life for the liberty of thinking and the emancipation of the individual. Starting from 1937 Claude Cahun and Suzanne mark-harsh on the channel island jersey lived. After occupation jersey by the Germans, engaged them further anti-fascist and finally condemned themselves 1944 to death. 1945 was fortunately begnadigt both, but while the 10-monatigen detention had the Gestapo their country house geplündert and destroyed a large part of their work.

Table of contents


Lucy Schwob

to 25. October 1894 is born Lucy Renée Mathilde Schwob in Nantes. Since one instructs its nut/mother Victorine Courbebaisse shortly thereafter into a psychatrische hospital, Lucy most time lives with its grandmother Mathilde Schwob. The family Schwob is an intellectual family with Jewish background and Mathilde Schwobs of sons is socially and culturally engaged: Lucys father Maurice Schwob (1859-1928) is publisher of the Phare de la Loire, a larger regional magazine and publishes various writings over economics and politics. Lucys uncle Marcel Schwob (1867-1905) is joint founder of the magazine Mercure de France and one of the key figures of the literary symbolism in France. 1907 are sent to Lucy due to anti-Semitic tendency, caused by the revision of the Dreyfus - process, for two school years to the Parson's Mead School in Surrey (England), then she returns to France to the Lyzeum to Nantes. Around 1909 their father becomes acquainted with his second Mrs. Marie Eugénie mark-harsh. Their daughter Suzanne mark-harsh and Lucy begin an exchange of letters.

Claude Cahun and Marcel of moorlands

starting from 1920 call themselves Lucy Schwob finally Claude Cahun. It already uses this name (an admiration of her large uncle David Léon Cahun) since 1918 for its texts in the Phare de la Loire, Mercure de France and La Gerbe. The first publication, Vues et vision 1914 in the Mercure de France signs it with Claude Courlis, in La Gerbe arises it until 1920 also as Daniel Douglas.

To the play with the name it becomes lively probably by Suzanne, which established already promptly (1913) its alias Marcel of moorlands. Suzanne mark-harsh is Graphikerin and artist. She draws among other things for mode magazines, the friend circle and illustrates Cahuns of books portraitiert.

In the technical literature Suzanne mark-harsh is led today with priority under its birth name, not under its alias Marcel moorlands, while Lucy Schwob is marked constantly with Claude Cahun.

Suzanne, Paris, le Surrealisme

1917 accomodation itself Claude Cahun and Suzanne mark-harsh in a dwelling over the Phare de la Loire in Nantes in. They spend increasingly time in Paris, where Claude Cahun at the Sorbonne philosophy and philology studied and 1920 an apartment in rue de Grenelle to them rents itself 1922 their studio in the rue Notre Dames the Champs at the Montparnasse finally furnishes there, which is promoted to a well visited meeting place.

Beside the letter Claude Cahun intensifies its photographic activities. Suzanne mark-harsh assists it thereby, e.g. manufactures. after Cahuns suggestions photo assemblies for the 240-seitigen, auto+biographic essay Aveux non avenus on, which appears to 1930 after 10-year old work with edition de Carrefour, Paris. 1929 take part Claude Cahun as mask and Kostümbilderin and as an actress in Pierre Albert Birots Théâtre de recherches dramatique: Le plateau, an only briefly existing surrealistisches ensemble, which produces own experimental pieces. After it bald-shaves itself again the head, the only published develops Selbstportrait Cahuns (catalog number 70 in [1]).

In the year 1932 Claude Cahun undertakes a short trip into the “Association of the Ecrivains et Artistes Révolutionnaires” (the French section of the combination of revolutionary writers international of the Komintern initiated organization), thus a group of communist artists and writers, that among other things André Breton belongs. When 1933 the Surrealisten and Breton is excluded from the combination, also Cahun steps and publishes Les Paris sont ouverts (dt.: The bets are open), a disputation, in which them criticize the cultural policy of the Komintern generally and the Louis Aragons in the special one. On the search for other one, artistic resistance forms against erstarkenden fascism on the one hand and against the internal-French policy on the other hand [one felt the people front politics Leon Bluem as too nationalistic and from traditional civil moral coined/shaped.], it becomes 1935 with Breton, George Bataille and other initial member of the combination Contre Attaque, an alliance of left intellectual, which articulated themselves up to the dissolution of the group of 1936 in its flight writings and communist manifestos extremely radically and in a revolutionary manner.

1937 buy Claude Cahun the Landgut La Rocquaise on the channel island jersey.

La Rocquaise, la Resistance

La Rocquaise is at the pc. Brelade's Bay, close of the church of pc. Brelade, jersey. Claude Cahun spent already since 1915 annual holidays in the pc. Brelade's Bay hotel, some photographs from this time with Treibgutassemblagen on the sand of the beach of pc. Brelade remained.

Cahun and mark-harsh keep their contacts with the friends in Paris upright. Cahun member into the Fédération international ones de l'Art Indépendant (1938), whose communist manifesto with their korresponiert in Les Paris sont ouverts outlined points of view.

At the 1. July 1940 the Germans on jersey march (see the Second World War). From the first day on Suzanne mark-harsh and Claude Cahun handbills write, arrange posters and photo assemblies, prepare resistance actions. Suzanne mark-harsh very good German knowledge use it, in order to write handbills with Desertationsaufrufen. They are directed however like already in Paris not only against the German soldiers, but also against the “cowardly Bürokraten” (from a handbill) in the own country. They e.g. sign the handbills typed in great quantities with typewriter. with “the soldiers without names”, attach them at police cars and, there the Kirchgarten of pc. Brelade during the crew as military cemetery was used, to the cars of the Germans, which park there during the funerals. At the church they bring a poster on with the label to “Jesus are large, but Hitler is larger. Jesus died for humans, but humans die for Hitler. “(quotes after Leperlier in [1]).

In July 1944 both of the Gestapo are arrested, condemned in November 1944 because of troop decomposition to death, begnadigt in February 1945 fortunately and after release jersey in May 1945 from the detention to dismiss. During the 10-monatigen detention scans the Gestapo several times La Rocquaise, plündert the Photoarchive and the library. Many negatives and photographs are destroyed.

After the war Claude Cahun takes up further Selbstportraits and begins an autobiography. The women plan a return to Paris, but due to the bad state of health Claude Cahuns is not added it. It dies 1954 in the hospital of pc. Hélier. Suzanne mark-harsh sells La Rocquaise and still lives up to its death 1972 on jersey.

work and Rezeption

of pictures (external)

Cahun as an authoress

Claude Cahun published many articles in different French magazines, as well as 3 books standing down. From further books manuscript fragments are present. In addition it is authoress and Unterzeichnerin of various calls, treatises and disputations from the surrounding field of the Surrealisten.

Vues et vision (dt.: Opinions and visions). First published, 1919 as 100-seitiges small band with illustrations of Suzanne mark-harsh with Éditions Georges Cres, Marcel of moorlands appeared dedicated to 1914 in the Mercure de France. Each chapter consists of two short paragraphs, two (opposite) variants of a thought play, in Le a Croisic (Brittany) settled, other in Rome, Athens, Paris…, arranged on the left and on the right on the double sides, framed from two into one another seizing, partly ornamentalen, partly figürlichen graphics of Suzanne mark-harsh, which likewise vary the topic of the chapter.

Aveux non avenus (dt.: Futile confessions) - edition you Carrefour (1930) - auto+biographic work, 1919-1928, preface of Pierre Mac Orlan, approx. 240 sides, poems, notes, stories, discussions, Aphorismen, photo assemblies in co-operation with Suzanne mark-harsh.

Le Cœur de Pic (1937) poem volume of Lise Deharme, 32 child poems illustrates with 20 photographs of Claude Cahun. Claude Cahun made for this photographic Tableaux, thus scenes and installations with figures, articles and nature materials.

Cahun as a Photographin

of the Selbstportraits it created, published it only, others was received in the photo assemblies, collages and photographic Tableaux. After its photographic work was guessed/advised after their death in oblivion for the time being, it is today stressed that Claude Cahun concerning the applied techniques and due to the represented emanzipierten positions (e.g. their toolistic views) of its time was far ahead.


(taken [1] (shortened), in [2] is a more extensive bibliography)

  • Vues vision ( alias Claude Courlis), Mercure de France, Nr. et. 406, 16. May 1914
  • La “Salomé” d'Oscar savage. Le procés Billing et les 47000 pervertis you livre noir, Mercure de France, Nr. 481, 1. July 1918
  • Le poteau frontière (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 3, December 1918
  • outer ones plus beau the anges (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 3, December 1918
  • Cigarettes (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 3, December 1918
  • Aux revision modifications of the livres, La Gerbe, No. 5, February 1919
  • La Sorbonne EN ( alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. fête. 5, February 1919
  • La pos session you moons, par Georges Duhamel, La Gerbe, No. 7, April 1919
  • Les Gerbes (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 7, April 1919
  • L'amour aveugle (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 12, September 1919
  • La machine magique (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 12, September 1919
  • Mathilde Alanic. Les of roses refleurissent, Le Phare de la Loire, 29. June 1919
  • Le théâtre de mademoiselle, par Mathias Morhardt, Le Phare de la Loire, 20. July 1919
  • Vues et vision, with illustrations of Marcel of moorlands, Paris: Georges Crès & Cie, 1919
  • Paraboles (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 17, February 1920
  • Une conférence de Georges Duhamel (alias Daniel Douglas), La Gerbe, No. 19, April 1920
  • Marcel Schwob, La Gerbe, No. 20, May 1920
  • Héroïnes: “Eve la trop crédule”, “Dalila, femme entre les femmes”, “La Sadique Judith”, “Hélène la rebelle”, “Sapho l'incomprise”, “Marguerite, sœur incestueuse”, “Salomé la sceptique”, Mercure de France, Nr. 639, 1. February 1925
  • Héroïnes: “Sophie la symboliste”, “la barks”, Le journal littéraire, No. 45, 28. February 1925
  • Méditation de Mademoiselle Lucie Schwob, Philosophies, No. 5/6, March 1925
  • Récits de rêve, in the extra charge Les of rêves, Le Disque vert, 3. Jg., Bd. 4, No. 2, 1925
  • Carnaval EN chambre, La Ligne de cœur, number 4, March 1926
  • Ephémérides, Mercure de France, Nr. 685, 1. January 1927
  • outer Diable, Le plateau, No. 2, May June 1929
  • Ellis, Havelock: La Femme dans la société - I. L'Hygiene sociale, socialpsychological studies, translated of Lucy Schwob, Mercure de France, 1929
  • Aveux non avenus, illustrates moorlands with photo assemblies of after ideas the authoress, Paris: Edition you Carrefour, 30. May 1930
  • Frontière humaine, anamorphotisches Selbstportrait, Bifur, No. 5, April 1930
  • Protestez (AEAR), Feuille rouge, No. 2, March 1933
  • Contre le fascisme corn aussi contre l'impérialisme francais (AEAR), Feuille rouge, No. 4, May 1933
  • Les Paris sont, Paris ouvert: José Corti, May 1934
  • union de lutte intellectuels of the révolutionnaires, Contre Attaque, 7. October 1935
  • Prenez guard aux objets domestique, in the extra charge L'Objet, Cahier d'Art III, 1936
  • Sous le feu canons francais… et alliés, Contre Attaque, March 1936
  • Dissolution de Contre Attaque, L'Œuvre, 24. March 1936
  • exposition surréaliste d'objets, exhibition in the gallery Charles advice clay/tone, Paris, 22. - 29. May 1936, specified in the catalog: Claude Cahun Un air de famille and Souris of valseuses
  • IL n'y A pas de liberté pour les ennemis de la liberté, 20. July 1936
  • Deharme, Lise: Le Cœur de Pic, 32 child poems, illustrates Paris with 20 photographs of Claude Cahun (two further photo work on that protection envelope): José Cortis, 1937
  • Adhésion à la Fédération international one de l'Art Révolutionnaire Indépendant, Clé, No. 1, January 1939
  • À bas les lettres de cachets! À bas la terreur grise! (FIARI), June 1939


  • [1] François Leperlier: “The internal Exotismus” in: Other, Snauwaert (Hrsg.): “Claude Cahun of pictures” Schirmer/Mosel, Munich 1997 # catalog to the exhibition “ClaudeCahun - self-manifestations” (art association Munich), illustrations of nearly all photographic works (German)
  • [2] François Leperlier (Hrsg.): “Claude Cahun Écrits” Èditions Jean Michel Place, of Paris 2002 # collecting texts, including signatory calls and unpublished writings (French)
  • archives jersey museum
  • Stephan Moebius: “Contre Attaque - a political initiative of French intellectual in the 30's” in: “Social history” number 2 18.Jahrgang/June 2003

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