It’s possible to be famous long past your lifetime on the strength of one piece. No one exemplifies that possibility as well as Meret Oppenheim, Swiss painter and sculptor of German birth, whose Object from 1936 is at the Museum of Modern Art. Here are her best known sculptures and short explanation about some of them.
Fur Covered Cup, Saucer, and Spoon, 1936
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.
Table With Bird Legs, 1939
Oppenheim’s table, like her tea cup touched on a nerve that was about the female. The legs of the table are slender bird’s legs. Choosing the subject of the table, where women serve tea or dinner, the table suggests an object of offering. The table becomes a delicate, erotic object of irony, humor, and beauty.
Fur-covered Ring, 1985
Ma Gouvernante – My Nurse – Mein Kindermädchen, 1936
In 1936 Oppenheim exhibited Ma Gouvernante 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 a lot of excitement. This pair of shoes was distroyed, but a new pair was made in 1967 when Moderna made an Oppenheim show.
Le couple, 1956
Das Ohr von Giacometti, 1933
Fur Gloves with Wooden Fingernails