Claude Cahun

Born 1894, Nantes, France. Died 1954, Saint Helier, Jersey

Self-Portrait, 1929

Born Lucy Schwob, the French photographer, sculptor, and writer adopted the gender-ambiguous name Claude Cahun in 1917. She is best known for her self-portraits in which she assumes a variety of personas, including dandy, weight lifter, aviator, and doll. She once explained: “Under this mask, another mask; I will never finish removing all these faces.”

Cahun was friends with many Surrealist artists and writers; André Breton once called her “one of the most curious spirits of our time.” While many male Surrealists depicted women as objects of male desire, Cahun staged images of herself that challenge the idea of static gender.

Source: Museum of Modern Art