Meret Oppenheim

1913 - 1985 · Germany

Artist biography

Visual artist, writer, photographer, and figure of the surrealist movement alongside André Breton, Meret Oppenheim is celebrated for her work dealing with everyday life. Working with different materials, his works made famous by Le Déjeuner en Fur are quickly representative of the Surrealist movement, his work is however much more prolific. Born in Berlin on October 6, 1913, into a family of Swiss-German artists Meret Oppenheim left school at 17 to learn painting. She begins her practice by diverting objects and travels alternately in Paris. Oppenheim is notable as she made her place as a recognized artist while women were considered mostly as muses or assistants. In 1932, she moved to Paris, the beating heart of the Surrealist movement, and placed herself as a central figure in actively participating in their meetings and exhibitions. Meret Oppenheim was the first solo exhibited in 1936, however assuming she, like her peers, must be male, critics and admirers of her work mistakenly referred to her as “Mr. Oppenheim. ” Having broken with gender identity at an early age, Oppenheim art wanted to be an exploration of sensations without any sexual connotation. His creations take fascinating forms that arouse ambiguity. The materials as well as the color palette that she uses overcomes the limits of the common and is a way for Oppenheim to give free rein to her evolving surrealist style. Dreams, the absurd and the fantastic are primordial sources. His vision breaks free from codes and draws on a daring way of thinking about an artist’s work. Refusing the reproduction of his famous fur mug, Meret Oppenheim made an absurd replica in 1970 with his painting "Andenken an das Pelzfrühstück" ("Souvenir of the fur lunch"). A way to get rid of those who reduced his art to the iconic work. It marked the 20th century, intellectually and artistically, in 1996 Meret Oppenheim's life works were the subject of a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, his first major exhibition in the United States. She died on November 15, 1985 in Basel, Switzerland, and a large part of her archives can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts and the National Library in Bern.

Meret Oppenheim

  • Exhibitions 6

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