Object by Meret Oppenheim (Swiss, 1913-1985)
Paris, 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, Cup 4 3/8″ (10.9 cm) in diameter; saucer 9 3/8″ (23.7 cm) in diameter; spoon 8″ (20.2 cm) long, overall height 2 7/8″ (7.3 cm).
This Surrealist object was inspired by a conversation between Oppenheim and artists Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar at a Paris cafe. Admiring Oppenheim’s fur-covered bracelet, Picasso remarked that one could cover anything with fur, to which she replied, “Even this cup and saucer.” Soon after, when asked by André Breton, Surrealism’s leader, to participate in the first Surrealist exhibition dedicated to objects, Oppenheim bought a teacup, saucer, and spoon at a department store and covered them with the fur of a Chinese gazelle. In so doing, she transformed genteel items traditionally associated with feminine decorum into sensuous, sexually punning tableware.