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Marcel Moore

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Artist 142 Marcel Moore Gender Identity Surrealism Photography

Marcel Moore (born 1892 – 1972) was a French illustrator, designer, and photographer. They adopted the name Marcel Moore changing it from Suzanne Alberte Malherbe. They along with their romantic and creative partner Claude Cahun specialized in surrealist writing and photography.

In 1909, the two met and began a lifelong artistic collaboration.

Moore’s widowed mother married Schwob's divorced father in 1917. Curator Tirza True Latimer has theorized that this step-sister relationship not only encouraged the young persons' creative collaborations but also diverted attention from their relationship.

By 1916 Moore had established themself as a graphic artist and their illustrations are typical of the type of work emerging from the Paris fashion scene at the time, reflecting the influence of the dynamic fine art scene and a growing interest in non-Western cultures, especially that of Japan.

They illustrated books and magazines and produced publicity material for leading figures in the world of the avant-garde theatre and dance.

Marcel Moore is best known as Claude Cahun's collaborator. Cahun's photographic oeuvre, all but forgotten for a few decades, was rediscovered in the 1980s and interpreted as a predecessor of Cindy Sherman’s theatrical self-portraits.

However, recent scholarship suggests that Moore was not only a muse but also had an active hand in the creation of some of Cahun's best-known works.

In 1937 Moore and Cahun moved from Paris to Jersey in Normandy in France, possibly to escape the increasing anti-semitism and political upheavals leading up to World War II.

They remained on the island of Jersey when German troops invaded in 1940. For several years, the two risked their lives by distributing anti-Nazi propaganda to the German soldiers.

Despite having reverted to their original names and introducing themselves as sisters in Jersey, their resistance activities were discovered in 1944, and they were imprisoned but were saved by the Liberation of Jersey in 1945.

I’ve chosen illustrations Moore made as well as some of the collaborations as the focus of today.


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