It’s Meret Oppenheim’s Birthday, and Yes, She Did More than the Fur-Lined Teacup
The artist was also a set designer and poet.
Today is the birthday of Surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985), so it’s an opportune time to remember that while she is best known for Object, the 1936 sculpture that lined a teacup, saucer and spoon with fur, it isn’t all she did.
The teacup, in fact, resulted from a conversation Oppenheim had with Pablo Picasso and his lover and model Dora Maar at a café after they complimented her on her bracelet, according to the Museum of Modern Art. One could cover anything in fur, Picasso said, to which Oppenheim replied, “Even this cup and saucer.”
The resulting work recalls the words of the French poet Isidore Ducasse, who wrote that a young man was as beautiful as “the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella,” inspiring the Surrealists’ unlikely and inspired combinations of objects.
Her love for animal imagery also resulted in Traccia, a table whose legs recall those of a bird.
Among other absurdist decorative objects, she also designed a ring adorned not with a gem but with a sugar cube.
The Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim launched in 2001, and awards artists of great cultural distinction with a grant of 40,000 Swiss francs.
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