Born in Berlin of a German father and a Swiss mother, Meret Oppenheim began her artistic career while still in school: her first collage, which was later accepted into the surrealist canon, was executed in a high school notebook. At eighteen she came to Paris where, in addition to attending academic courses in art, she produced paintings and drawings that won her the admiration of Alberto Giacometti and Jean Arp. Thanks to them, she was invited to exhibit with the Surrealist group at the Salon des Surindépendants (1933).
Meret Oppenheim’s works from 1932 to 1937 include numerous paintings, collages and objects, of which the best-known is perhaps the Fur-lined Teacup., bought by the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1936. Many items of this period have been lost, a fact made all the more regrettable by the subsequent self-imposed withdrawal of the artist from public view: a withdrawal lasting more than fifteen years, during which she allowed only a few works to be exhibited and of which she has destroyed almost every trace.
Since 1959 Meret Oppenheim has begun exhibiting again, notably at the Paris Surrealist Exhibition in 1959-60, where her much-imitated event. Diner sur une femme nue, made a sensation, and at the Surrealismo e Arte fantastico Exhibition at the São Paolo Biennale (1965).