Sunday, October 6, 2013

Meret Oppenheim - 1913 - 1985

Meret Oppenheim (artist, sculptor and poet) was born in Berlin on October 6, 1913 and died November 15, 1985. She would be 100 years old today.
Meret Oppenheim is probably best known for the fur teacup and spoon, one of the most recognized of Surrealist Objects. Many of her objects and paintings created during the same period have since been lost. Her contributions to the Surrealist Movement, and associations with many members of the group began well before she turned 20 years of age.

This Surrealist object was inspired by a conversation between Oppenheim and artists Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar at a Paris cafe. Admiring Oppenheim's fur-covered bracelet, Picasso remarked that one could cover anything with fur, to which she replied, "Even this cup and saucer." Soon after, when asked by André Breton, Surrealism's leader, to participate in the first Surrealist exhibition dedicated to objects, Oppenheim bought a teacup, saucer, and spoon at a department store and covered them with the fur of a Chinese gazelle. In so doing, she transformed genteel items traditionally associated with feminine decorum into sensuous, sexually punning tableware.

She spent twenty years trying to make paintings and artwork that would live up to this early success and suffered from anxiety and depression. It was not until many years later she understood how important materials were for her artmaking success. Instead of illustrating an idea in a painting, the symbolic mix of objects was her genius.

Giacometti's ear

Oppenheim exhibited Ma Gouvernante, My Nurse, made of a pair of shoes bound together on a platter in a position simulating that of a nude woman on her back with her legs spread and dressed with paper frills. The shoes caused as much excitement as the fur cup.

Table with bird feet

Glove (for parket no. 4)

Red Head, Blue Body

Controversial fountain in Berne (Tour-Fontaine)


I have seen a documentary about Meret Oppenheim and was fascinated by her personality and art work and took the occasion of her 100th birthday to make this post.

Inspiring Sunday to you all!

♥ Emilie's daughter ♥ 

sources MoMa,, google


  1. What riches you have given us: Merit Oppenheimer today and Le Corbusier yesterday!

  2. Such an interesting inspiring woman!

  3. Dear Christa - I do admire people like Meret Oppenheimer - she is someone who knows what she wants to do and goes all out for it. What an extraordinary and unique imagination she has. I do actually like the table with the birds legs, it is quirky and I would be happy to have it in the home.

  4. Thank you for introducing me to such an interesting artist. I love learning new things and I had not heard of Meret Oppenheimer. Thank you.

  5. Hello Christa, what a fascinating post and a lovely tribute. I am afraid the sexual connotations were lost on me, I thought the shoes were like a chicken and the cup and saucer rather cute, such a naive little creature I am!
    Thank you for educating me. Many thanks for your kind comments on my blog, it was lovely to see you there in the comments. I hope all is well with you, love Linda x