Meret Oppenheim 1913-1985

Meret Oppenheim (1913 - 1985) was born in Berlin, Germany and died in Basel, Switzerland. She was an artistic pioneer, icon, painter, sculptor, designer, model, muse—in essence, a visionary. At the age of 18 she moved to Paris to study art at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. It was in the Ville Lumière that she became friendly with established artists living in the city, from Alberto Giacometti to Max Ernst, from Jean Arp to Pablo Picasso. 
Oppenheim managed to gain a foothold quickly. Not only did she become the first female member of the Surrealists, she even contributed to the Surrealist Manifesto published by André Breton in 1924 when he incorporated her famous equation X = Rabbit, which she made as an 11 year old girl. Her place at the epicenter of the 20th century’s most influential moments was solidified by appearing in Breton’s first exhibition on Surrealism in 1936 at Galerie Ratton, Paris.The piece she showcased, Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure), would be purchased by Alfred H. Barr Jr. for the MoMA New York later that year when the artist was only 23. Meret Oppenheim’s eclectic body of work is rooted firmly in her own fantastical world of the subconscious as manifested into physical reality. In her paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography, design objects, and poetry, Oppenheim speaks to the alienation of man as put forth through the ideas of psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Encouraged by her psychoanalyst father, Oppenheim started documenting her dreams as a teenager and created her first aphoristic drawings.
In January 1975 Oppenheim received the 1974 Art Award of the City of Basel where she held a significant speech on the topic of “female artists”, and in 1982 the Grand Award of the City of Berlin. That same year she became part of the Academy of Arts, Berlin. Despite the challenges her gender posed in the early half of the 20th century, Oppenheim had a prolific, lifelong career with her first retrospective in 1967 at Moderna Museet Stockholm, Sweden, followed by appearances in Harald Szeemann’s documenta 7 in 1982 and in 1984 by an important retrospective with stations in Bern, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich, as well as, after her death, in the 1986 Venice Biennale. Since, there have been several retrospective exhibitions including those at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1996, and at the Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, in 2013. A new retrospective is programmed to start in October 2021 at the Kunstmuseum Bern, then traveling to the Menil Collection Houston as of March 2022 and finally arriving at the MoMA New York in October 2022.