Queer Places:
5 Rue de la Mésange, 67000 Strasbourg, France
63 Rue Daguerre, 75014 Paris, France

Marcelle Cahn - Archives of Women Artists, Research and ExhibitionsMarcelle Cahn (born onin Strasbourg , died onin Neuilly-sur-Seine) was a French painter [ 1 ] . Artist Liv Schulman created a series of films: Le Goubernement, a six-episode fiction imagining the destiny and work of women, lesbian, queer, trans and non-binary artists who lived in Paris from 1910 – 1980. The episodes traverses and overlay over 70 years of history and hosts the stories and fate of artists that were erased from the great twentieth century modernist narrative including Marcelle Cahn.

Marcelle Cahn was born in Strasbourg on , at the time of the Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen ( Alsace-Lorraine ), at 5 rue de la Mésange in Strasbourg, in an Alsatian Jewish family of French origin, the Cahn-Debré [ 3 ] .

"My father was in business, but he was very interested in astronomy… My mother descended from the family of Regensburg, Strasbourg bankers converted to Catholicism following visions and founders of the Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion."

A studious youth, Marcelle Cahn learned to draw, paint, play the violin and the piano. Thanks to her mother, pianist and music lover, she discovered, very young, contemporary music including that of Arnold Schönberg .

Marcelle attends the “Höhere Mädchenschule”: the École Supérieure de Jeunes Filles de Strasbourg , currently the Lycée International des Pontonniers . She planned to become an actress for a while, took a few private lessons and then began literary and philosophical studies at the University of Strasbourg.

At 19, in 1914, Marcelle met Simon Lévy, a young Alsatian painter who introduced her to Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne . She hastened to acquire books on these painters.

The period from 1914 to 1918 was marked by a stay in Berlin where her brother Roger while this latter was doing his military service. Her mother and cousin accompany her. Marcelle took the opportunity to attend the Lewin-Funke-Kunstschule in Charlottenburg where Eugene Spiro (portraits) and Lovis Corinth (nudes) taught . In this city, Marcelle discovered with interest the expressionist artists of the Sturm.

In 1920 Marcelle was in Paris and took the opportunity to see and review the works of Cézanne who represented for her the summit of modern painting. She also frequented the Arraujo workshop where she drew, painted and experimented with geometric shapes. Finally, she spent two months at the Ranson Academy then returned to Strasbourg to continue her own research independently.

In 1923, she went to Zurich to take courses in philosophy; those, in particular, of Hans Lipps , specialist of Kant . Edvard Munch who lived in the same hotel as Marcelle would never know that she was a painter.

Back in Paris, Marcelle went to the Modern Academy where she is a student of Othon Friesz who was responsible for correcting the works of the students. Friesz authorized Marcelle to continue her own research without correcting it. After this stay at the Modern Academy, Marcelle returned to Strasbourg in 1924.

In 1925, back in Paris, Marcelle attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and trained in nudes, still lifes, cubist drawings and paintings.

The gallery owner Léonce Rosenberg was interested in her work and put her in contact with Fernand Léger of the Modern Academy and with Amédée Ozenfant . Marcelle also frequented painters: Willi Baumeister , Léopold Survage , Tutundjian, Ossip Zadkine , Suzanne Valadon , Louise Hervieu , Michel Larionov , Natalia Gontcharova . In 1926, Marcelle participated in the Société Anonyme exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.[ 2 ]

She also exhibited, from 1926 until 1929 at the Salon des Indépendants [ 4 ] .

In 1929, Michel Seuphor invited Marcelle Cahn to the Cercle et Carré group . She exhibited and met Hans Arp , Sophie Taeuber-Arp , Piet Mondrian , Vassily Kandinsky , Georges Vantongerloo , Jean Gorin , Joaquín Torres García , etc.

In the 1930s, Marcelle Cahn withdrew from the public art scene. She drew and painted in Strasbourg. During her short stays in Paris in 1932 and 1934, she did not reconnect with the artists she knew.

From 1939 to 1945, she retired, with her mother, to Blois and then to Toulouse . She followed courses in philosophy, courses of Father Breuil , conferences of Father Nicolas on Christian unity. Marcelle would have participated in an exhibition of regionalist painters in Toulouse . His mother died onn Toulouse. She was very affected.

From 1947, Marcelle rediscovered Paris and its old acquaintances. She never stopped creating, experimenting, animated by an innovative spirit underpinned by a rich and discreet interior life.

She lived in a room, 63 rue Daguerre. Like Gottfried Honegger , graphic designer and constructivist who lived on the same street, they often talk about their respective creations.

… At the end of the war, I returned to Paris where I resumed my work. I exposed again. I went to the meetings of the Paul Valéry Circle, I followed the exhibitions ... The first place where I exhibited again was the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, in 1948. My paintings were part of a kind of imagined reality. What interested me a lot was the color. I was somehow trying to free myself from the right. I made inroads into an area that was not mine ... " [ 2 ]

Successively, Marcelle Cahn's creations become linear geometric drawings, collages, relief paintings, linear paintings, photo collages, sphere paintings, spatial paintings and, until the end of her life, more and more collages. smaller.

… I also made small lyrical abstract drawings. When I was doing my line paintings, the work was very hard and I needed a break: that's how they came… [ 2 ]

Marcelle Cahn died at the age of 86, on , at the Galignani Foundation in Neuilly-sur-Seine .

Marcelle Cahn donated to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg a collection of private archives (correspondence, books and works, in particular around 200 collages).

My published books:

See my published books