Claude Cahun (Née Lucy Schwob) - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Zabriskie, New York

  • Literature

    Leperlier, Claude Cahun: L'ecart et la Métamorphose, p. 260
    Photo Poche, Claude Cahun, pl. 9

  • Catalogue Essay

    “There is not one self. There are not ten selves. There is no self.”
    Henri Michaux, Plume, 1938

    Both the photographer, Claude Cahun, and the subject, Henri Michaux, of this multiple exposure and duplicate selves - were artists and writers known for their early explorations of personal and public identity.

    Born Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob, gender-bending Cahun began photographing herself when she was 18 years old. By 1920 she had taken the pseudonym Claude Cahun, shaved her head and started living with her life-partner and stepsister Suzanne Malherbe (aka“Marcel Moore”). Michaux and Cahun’s friendship started in 1925 with their collaboration on Récits de rêve (Dream Narratives) published in a special issue of the literary magazine Disque vert. Though Michaux never joined the Surrealist movement, Cahun was one of the few women included in their exhibitions. In 1932 she joined the Association des Écrivains et Artistes Révolutionnaires,and four years later participated in the London International Surrealist Exhibition and Exposition surréaliste d’Objets.

    Upon the outset of WWII Cahun and her partner Moore moved from Paris to Jersey, and after the fall of France created their last and perhaps greatest identity switch. As fervent resisters, they dressed as German soldiers and attended military events, placing anti-German fliers that they had printed into the pockets of soldiers. Eventually they were caught and sentenced to death. Though the sentence never occurred, Cahun’s health was ruined in prison, leading to her death in 1954.


Henri Michaux

Gelatin silver print.
4 5/8 x 3 1/2 in. (11.7 x 8.9 cm)

$20,000 - 30,000 

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
+1 212 940 1245


New York 30 September & 1 October 2013