SOFT SCULPTURE SURVEY: MERET OPPENHEIM / by Britt Howard

Object, Paris, 1936, fur covered cup, saucer, and spoon

Object, Paris, 1936, fur covered cup, saucer, and spoon

The story behind Meret Oppenheim's infamous work, Object also know as Breakfast in Fur, is the stuff that art history lovers can't get enough of. Oppenheim was in a Paris cafe with fellow artists Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar. Admiring Oppenheim's bracelet which she had covered in fur, Picasso joked that anything could be covered in fur. "Even this cup and saucer!" replied Oppenheim. This light conversation lead Oppenheim to actually try out this offhand idea. Object has achieved the status of the "quintessential" Surrealist object. Oppenheim is considered one of the very few female Surrealists, and although she broke off from the group in the 1960s, her work often expressed the ideas and aesthetics of that groundbreaking movement. Throughout her life Oppenheim continued to push the limits of mundane objects, from turning leather gloves into a map of blood vessels, or trussing high heels like a piece of poultry on a platter, decades later, her objects still feel contemporary and exciting. 

Glove (for Parkett no. 4), 1985, suede gloves with screenprint and hand-stitching, ed. 150

Glove (for Parkett no. 4), 1985, suede gloves with screenprint and hand-stitching, ed. 150

Ma Gouvernante (My Nurse), 1936, shoes, string, metal plate

Ma Gouvernante (My Nurse), 1936, shoes, string, metal plate

Pelzhandschuhe (Fur Gloves), 1939

Pelzhandschuhe (Fur Gloves), 1939

Eichhörnchen (squirrel), 1969, fur, glass, plastic foam, ed. 100

Eichhörnchen (squirrel), 1969, fur, glass, plastic foam, ed. 100