Claude Cahun (25 October 1894 – 8 December 1954) was a French artist, photographer and writer. Her work was both political and personal, and often played with the concepts of gender and sexuality.
Sometimes she looks like a man, at other times like a disconcertingly contemporary androgyne, with a shaven head and fabulously loud shirt. She cuts the scariest edge of fashion, yet was born exactly a century ago. Who is this third-sexer made-up to look like a cross between Sinead O’Connor and Nosferatu?
She’s Lucy Schwob, born in 1894 in Nantes; she’s Daniel Douglas, named after Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde’s beloved ‘Bosie’; she’s ‘The Unnamed Soldier’, a veteran of the Jersey Resistance, who urged the occupying Germans to desert. She is Claude Cahun, a little-known Surrealist photographer whom the archivists presumed was a man.