Marcelle Delphine Cahn Biography

Marcelle Delphine Cahn




Marcelle Cahn was born on March 1, 1895. Her family were Jewish merchants in Strasbourg, France. She began her career studying painting at the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg.

Between the years 1915 and 1918, Cahn lived in Berlin where she frequented courses in figure and design taught by Eugen Sprio and Lovis Corinth. During this time she became associated with Oskar Kokoschka and other painters of the Sturm movement.

Cahn first visited Paris in 1919 or 1920 where she first studied at the atelier of the Brazilan artist, Pedro Araújo, where the focus was drawing and painting with geometric forms. Cahn was greatly influenced by the paintings of Cezanne and viewed his work as the summit of modernism.

In 1928, Cahn briefly attended the Académie Ranson where she studied with Édouard Vuillard. She would later study at Académie Moderne where she was influenced by the teachings of Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant. She also studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.

Cahn was one of the few women among the Avant-garde painters in Paris. In 1926, she participated in the international exhibition Art d’Aujourd’hui, and was asked to join the membership of the Circle and Square (Cercle et Carré) where she met Hans Arp and Sophia Taeuber-Arp, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jean Gorin. She had numerous solo exhibitions and her work was included in the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon des Réalités. There was a retrospective of her work in 1974 at the Centre national de l'art contemporian. Raymond Nacenta wrote of Cahn: “Her monochrome compositions, with their linear geometry, lend themselves to a sober art and place her among the most rigorous of abstract painters.”

Marcelle Delphine Cahn died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on September 20, 1981.