Muses

Meret Oppenheim (1913 - 1985)

Meret Oppenheim decides to become an abstract artist after discovering a Bauhaus exhibition in Bâle, in 1929. As she settles in Paris, in the early 1930s, the German artist who also writes poetry, becomes familiar with the Surrealist group thanks to her friend, Hans Arp. The movement adopts her as a muse, in particular Man Ray who depicts her androgynous beauty in numerous nudes and erotic portraits that seduce André Breton who defines her as a ‘creature’ and ‘statue’. But Meret Oppenheim came to Paris not to become an idol or Max Ernst’s passionate lover, but a proper artist and she decides to concentrate on her own creations: from fashion drawings to paintings and jewelry, inspired by the works of Marcel Duchamp and her dreams. As she is having lunch with Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso who initiate a game for which they have to envelop all the objects on the table with fur - inspired by the fur bracelet Meret Oppenheim had designed for Elsa Schiaparelli and that she is wearing - the artist decides to cover their whole coffee set with the skin of a gazelle. By transforming an everyday object into a symbolique piece, she gives birth to an iconic surrealist work, entitled The Luncheon in Fur by André Breton.  In 1937, Meret Oppenheim leaves Paris and knows what she would later call a ‘crisis’, during eighteen years. She returns to art by imagining the costumes for Pablo Picasso’s play, Le désir attrapé par la Queue, in 1956 and, with a legendary performance in 1959 for which she interrogates fecundity by turning a naked woman whose face is painted in gold into a buffet. As Surrealists rather appreciated her as muse than a peer, Meret Oppenheim also had to face a misinterpretation of her work, a patriarchal judgment that emphasized voyeurism and eroticism. Hopefully, 1970s’ feminists comprehended her work in its original discourse and celebrated the artist as a true speaker for women’s creativity.
 

Tags / Meret Oppenheim - German Artist - Muses - 1930s - It Women - Abstraction - Femininity
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Walter Studer, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1979
Walter Studer, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1979
Cannibal Feast by Meret Oppenheim for the opening of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Cordier, Paris, 1959. Photo by William Klein
Cannibal Feast by Meret Oppenheim for the opening of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Cordier, Paris, 1959. Photo by William Klein
Man Ray,  Erotique voilée (Veiled Erotic) - Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Erotique voilée (Veiled Erotic) - Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim naked, 1935
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim naked, 1935
Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis and Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis and Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Margaret Baumann, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1982
Margaret Baumann, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1982
Maria Mulas, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1979
Maria Mulas, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1979
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1934
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1934
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Brigitte Hellgoth, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1975
Brigitte Hellgoth, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1975
Margaret Baumann, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1971
Margaret Baumann, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1971
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim nuded, laying on a sofa, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim nuded, laying on a sofa, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, arm with ink, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, arm with ink, 1933
Man Ray,  Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray,  Erotique voilée (Veiled Erotic) - Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Erotique voilée (Veiled Erotic) - Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray,  Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Michiko Matsumoto, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, Berne, Switzerland, 1985
Michiko Matsumoto, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, Berne, Switzerland, 1985
Margrit Baumann, Meret Oppenheim's apartment and studio Zieglerstrasse, Bern, 1982
Margrit Baumann, Meret Oppenheim's apartment and studio Zieglerstrasse, Bern, 1982
Meret Oppenheim and Leonor Fini at the Gallerie Gasser, Zurich 1942
Meret Oppenheim and Leonor Fini at the Gallerie Gasser, Zurich 1942
Heinz Günter Mebusch, Portrait of  Meret Oppenheim, June 1980
Heinz Günter Mebusch, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, June 1980
Meret Oppenheim, X-ray of My Skull, 1964
Meret Oppenheim, X-ray of My Skull, 1964
Man Ray,  Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1934
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1934
Brigitte Hellgoth, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1975
Brigitte Hellgoth, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1975
Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis and Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Louis Marcoussis and Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Erotique voilée Series, 1933
Man Ray, Erotique voilée Series, 1933
Cannibal Feast by Meret Oppenheim for the opening of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Cordier, Paris, 1959
Cannibal Feast by Meret Oppenheim for the opening of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Cordier, Paris, 1959
Cannibal Feast by Meret Oppenheim for the opening of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Cordier, Paris, 1959
Cannibal Feast by Meret Oppenheim for the opening of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Cordier, Paris, 1959
Man Ray,  Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1970s
Meret Oppenheim, 1970s
Meret Oppenheim, 1960s
Meret Oppenheim, 1960s
Meret Oppenheim, 1960s
Meret Oppenheim, 1960s
Man Ray,  Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1934
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1934
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Stefan Moses, Meret Oppenheim in Berner Studio, 1982
Stefan Moses, Meret Oppenheim in Berner Studio, 1982
Claude Lê Anh, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1978
Claude Lê Anh, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1978
Philippe Klein, Meret Oppenheim, Marcel Fleiss and Olga Picabia at the Man Ray’s exhibition, 1972
Philippe Klein, Meret Oppenheim, Marcel Fleiss and Olga Picabia at the Man Ray’s exhibition, 1972
Leonor Fini, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1938
Leonor Fini, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1938
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim (Solarized Nude), 1932
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim (Solarized Nude), 1932
Man Ray, The Primacy of Matter over Thought, 1929
Man Ray, The Primacy of Matter over Thought, 1929
Karin Székessy, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1984
Karin Székessy, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1984
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait of Meret Oppenheim, 1933
Marion Kalter, Meret Oppenheim in her Paris apartment, 11 rue Beautlreillis, 1977
Marion Kalter, Meret Oppenheim in her Paris apartment, 11 rue Beautlreillis, 1977
Marion Kalter, Meret Oppenheim in her Paris apartment, 11 rue Beautlreillis, 1977
Marion Kalter, Meret Oppenheim in her Paris apartment, 11 rue Beautlreillis, 1977
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim nude and Man Ray, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim nude and Man Ray, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim nude, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim nude, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim with a drawing by her self, 1936
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim with a drawing by her self, 1936
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, rue Val de Grâce, Paris, 1933
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, rue Val de Grâce, Paris, 1933
Man Ray, Portrait solarized (Meret Oppenheim), 1930s
Man Ray, Portrait solarized (Meret Oppenheim), 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1930s
Meret Oppenheim, 1936
Meret Oppenheim, 1936
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