Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art (Creative) and Art History with a concentration in Art History, MA

Committee Chair

Kim, Jongwoo

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Gibson, John

Committee Member

Gibson, John

Committee Member

Reitz, Chris

Author's Keywords

Surrealism; Surrealist Photography; Sigmund Freud; Gender; Sexuality


This thesis probes the photographic oeuvre of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore and their interpretation of Freudian fetishism. Cahun and Moore rework Freud’s theory to disrupt and invalidate various symbols conventionally associated with sexual difference, examining social, fictional, and historical dimensions of gendering and the shift that occurs when their parameters disintegrate. The first section examines the lovers’ portraiture and use of clothing—specifically the androgyny of early-twentieth century Paris fashion—in order to demarcate same-sex gaze, desire, and fetish. The second section covers the four years in which Cahun and Moore’s participation in the Paris Surrealist circles can be traced—from 1933 to 1937. During this time, their construction of “irrational objects,” a term frequently evoked in Cahun’s essay “Beware Domestic Objects,” exhumes the tensions between veiled and unveiled eroticism.