Meret Oppenheim  (Swiss, 1913-1985) 

Méret Oppenheim (Swiss, October 6, 1913–November 15, 1985) was an artist and photographer who was a member of the Surrealist movement during the 1920s. Born in Germany, Oppenheim was forced to move to Switzerland as a child due to her father's conscription into the German army during World War I. In Switzerland, she was exposed to art primarily through an aunt. This exposure led her to relocate to Paris in 1932 to attend the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Oppenheim’s studies at the Académie were inconsistent, but her work was developed enough to earn her an invitation from Hans Arp (German/French, 1886–1966) and Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, 1901–1966) to participate in a Surrealist exhibition, the Salon des Surindépendants, in 1933. Her participation in the exhibit earned her official welcome in the circle of Surrealist artists and writers thriving in Paris at that time. It also gave her the cachet needed to put on her first solo expedition at the Galerie Schulthess in Basel in 1936.

Oppenheim's work focused on the sexuality and exploitation of women. The theme can be seen repeatedly in her paintings as well as her sculptures, in which she used regular objects posed as women to make her statements. Some of her work achieved worldwide recognition, especially the piece Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure), which consisted of a teacup, saucer, and spoon covered in Chinese gazelle fur. This 1936 sculpture was the result of a comment from Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) that anything could be covered in fur. The work was exhibited at the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, then later at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of the Alfred H Barr Jr. (American, 1902–1981) Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism exhibit in both 1936 and 1937.

Oppenheim's productivity after this early success became erratic, and she destroyed much of the work she produced as she moved away from her Surrealist roots. She began to work regularly again in the 1950s, designing costumes and sets for a Picasso play in 1956 and creating a piece, Le Festin, which depicted a nude woman covered with food on a table. This work was shown at the last International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris in 1959. She continued to produce her work, much of it controversial, until shortly before her death. Oppenheim's estate is represented by the Levy Galerie in Eppendorf.

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Meret Oppenheim, Das Ohr von Giacometti


Meret Oppenheim
Das Ohr von Giacometti

Galerie Ziegler SA
Meret Oppenheim, Kleiner Komet


Meret Oppenheim
Kleiner Komet

LEVY Galerie
Meret Oppenheim, X-Ray


Meret Oppenheim

LEVY Galerie
Meret Oppenheim, Das Ohr von Giacometti


Meret Oppenheim
Das Ohr von Giacometti

LEVY Galerie
Meret Oppenheim, Traccia


Meret Oppenheim
Urban Architecture Inc. / Keith Rennie Johnson A R T
Meret Oppenheim, Waldinneres mit Dryaden


Meret Oppenheim
Waldinneres mit Dryaden

Galerie Ziegler SA
Meret Oppenheim, Kasten mit Tierchen (Box with Little Animals)


Meret Oppenheim
Kasten mit Tierchen (Box with Little Animals)

Galerie Ziegler SA
Meret Oppenheim, Installation view Galerie Krinzinger, Wien 2012


Meret Oppenheim
Installation view Galerie Krinzinger, Wien 2012
Galerie Krinzinger
Meret Oppenheim, Das Ohr von Giacometti


Meret Oppenheim
Das Ohr von Giacometti

Galerie Krinzinger
Past auction results (522)  View All
Meret Oppenheim, Traccia table from the Ultramobile collection


Meret Oppenheim
Traccia table from the Ultramobile collection, 1939
gold leaf over wood, cast bronze


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Meret Oppenheim, Traccia Table


Meret Oppenheim
Traccia Table, 1971
bronze, wood, gold leaf


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Meret Oppenheim, Traccia table


Meret Oppenheim
Traccia table, 1970-1979
gold leaf, wood, cast bronze


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1913   Born in Berlin, Germany
1974   Kunstpreis der Stadt Basel, Switzerland
1985   Died in Basel, Switzerland
2014   Meret Oppenheim. Rétrospective. Lille métropole musée d'art moderne d'art contemporain et d'art brut, France
2014   Meret Oppenheim - Hommage zum 100. Geburtstag, Galerie Serge Ziegler SA, Zurich, Switzlerand
2013   Meret Oppenheim, Retrospektive zum 100. Geburtstag, Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria / Jüdisches Museum Rendsburg / Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
2012   Schädelkult - Kopf und Schädel in der Kulturgeschichte des Menschen, Reithalle Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, Germany
2012   The Small Utopia. Ars multiplicata, Fondazione Prada, Cà Corner della Regina, Venice, Italy
2012   La Femme, zieglerzwei, Zürich, Switzerland
2007   Galerie Carzaniga, Basel, Switzerland
2006   Meret Oppenheim – Retrospektive: mit ganz enorm wenig viel, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland
2005   París y los surrealistas, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
2004   The Future Has a Silver Lining - Genealogies of Glamour, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Swiss
2003   Meret Oppenheim - Die Pelztasse war nur der Anfang - Hommage zum 90. Geburtstag, LEVY, Hamburg, Germany
2003   Meret Oppenheim - Malerei, Grafik, Multiples, galerie jochen höltje, Tübingen, Germany
2003   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
2002   Beautiful Productions: Parkett Editions since 1984, Irish Museum of Modern Art - IMMA, Dublin
2001   Bilder und Skulpturen, Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
2000   rot grau - Basler Malerei, Kunsthalle Basel, Swiss
1999   Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
1998   Meret Oppenheim, Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden (solo)
1997   Meret Oppenheim. Eine andere Retrospektive, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (solo)
1995   Galerie A. von Scholz, Berlin, Germany (solo)
1994   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
1993   Hommage á Meret Oppenheim, Galerie Schön + Halepa, Berlin, Germany (soo)
1992   Man Ray - Meret Oppenheim, Paintings and Works on Paper, Kent Gallery, New York
1991   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
1990   Palau de la Virreina, ICA, Barcelona (solo)
1989   M.O., Galerie des Bastions, Geneva, Switzerland / Galerie Pudelko, Bonn, Germany (solo)
1988   Kent Gallery, New York (solo)
1987   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
1986   Biennale, Venice, Italy
1985   Meret Oppenheim / Mariann Grunder, Nola - Naples, Italy
1984   Nantenshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1983   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
1982   documenta 7, Kassel, Germany
1981   Permanence du regard Surréaliste, ELAC, Lyon, France
1980   FARBER, Bruxelles, Belgium
1979   Das Schubladenmuseum, Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland
1978   Dada and Surrealism, Hayward Gallery, London, UK
1977   Künstlerinnen International, Kunstverein, Frankfurt a.M, Germany
1976   Musée d´Art, Rennes, France
1975   Magna - Feminismus und Kreativität, Galerie Nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, Austria
1974   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
1974   Galerie Ziegler, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
1973   Art Boxes, Kunsthandel Brinkmann, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1972   Artistes Suisses contemporains, Grand Palais, Paris, France
1971   Sturmkonstnärer och Schweizisk Nukonst, Museum, Landskrona, Sweden
1970   Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
1967   Retrospective at Moderna Museet Stockholm, Sweden