Meret Oppenheim

Méret Oppenheim

Meret Oppenheim (6 October 1913, Berlin  — 15 November 1985, Basel) was a German-born, Swiss, Surrealist artist. 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. 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.

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

Oppenheim is also often credited with coining the phrase ” Nobody will give you freedom, you have to take it. ”

Text from Wikipedia. Photo: “My Nursemaid”, 1967

Additional information

  • Kleiner, Fred S.; Mamiya, Christian J. (2005) (12th ed.). USA: Thompson Learning Co.. p. 999-1000.
  • Slatkin, Wendy (2001). Women Artists in History (4th ed.). USA: Pearson Education. p. 203-204.
  • Meyer-Thoss, Christiane (1996). ‘Meret Oppenheim: Book of Ideas’. Early Drawings and Sketches for Fashion, Jewelry, and Designs.. Gachnang & Springer. ISBN 978-3-906127-51-4.  With Photographs by Heinrich Helfenstein. Translated from German by Catherine Schelbert.

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