Méret Oppenheim  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Meret Oppenheim (October 6, 1913, BerlinNovember 15, 1985, Switzerland) was a German-born Swiss, Surrealist artist, and photographer. Her best known work is Le Déjeuner en fourrure (1936).

Oppenheim is highly associated with the Dada movement because of her circle of friends. However, her art cannot be considered Dada: she did care about the aesthetics of the art object. Despite frequent recognition of her work in standard texts, relatively little critical attention has been paid to Oppenheim herself.

Having been raised in Switzerland and South Germany, Oppenheim traveled at the age of 18 to Paris and enrolled at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. After meeting Alberto Giacometti, Jean Arp, and Man Ray, she became absorbed in Surrealism and was invited by Giacometti and Arp to exhibit with the Surrealists in 1933. She continued to contribute to their exhibitions until 1960. Many of her pieces consisted of everyday objects arranged as such that they allude to female sexuality and feminine exploitation by the opposite sex. Oppenheim’s paintings focused on the same themes. Her originality and audacity established her as a leading figure in the surrealist movement.

In 1956 she designs the costumes and the masks for Picasso's theatrical piece, Le Désir attrapé par la queue, directed by Daniel Spoerri.

Oppenheim's best known piece is Le Déjeuner en fourrure (1936). The sculpture consists of a teacup, saucer and spoon that the artist covered with the fur of a Chinese gazelle. It is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Additional information

  • Kleiner Fred, S. Mamiya, Christian J. Gardner's art through the ages 12th edition, Thompson learning company. USA 2005 pages 999-1000.
  • Slatkin, Wendy. "Women Artists in History" 4th edition, Pearson Education. USA 2001 pages 203-204.
  • Meyer-Thoss, Christiane. 'Meret Oppenheim: Book of Ideas'. Early Drawings and Sketches for Fashion, Jewelry, and Designs. With Photographs by Heinrich Helfenstein. Translated from German by Catherine Schelbert. Gachnang & Springer, 1996. ISBN 978-3-906127-51-4




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Méret Oppenheim" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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