Object (The Luncheon in Fur)
The work's concept originated in a conversation among Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, and his lover and fellow artist Dora Maar at a Parisian café where the café's social role was discussed, and at which Oppenheim was wearing a fur-covered brass tube bracelet, the pattern of which she sold to the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Picasso had suggested that anything could be covered in fur, and Oppenheim remarked that this would apply to "even this cup and saucer". Oppenheim was nearly 23 years old at the time. In a slightly more explicit version of the conversation, Picasso complements the young artist on her fur bracelet, and flirtatiously observes that there are many things he enjoys that were improved when covered in fur. Oppenheim responded, tongue in cheek, by asking, "Even this cup and saucer?"
Oppenheim created and exhibited the work as part of André Breton's first exhibition of surrealist sculpture (Exposition surréaliste d'objets), held at the Galerie Charles Ratton. She originally titled it prosaically as "Cup, saucer and spoon covered with fur", but the work was renamed by Breton in reference to Manet's painting Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe. The work accords well with Breton's theories in his essay "The Crisis of the Object".
In true found object mode, the teacup, saucer and spoon are ordinary objects purchased from Monoprix, a Paris department store. The fur covering is that of a Chinese gazelle.
Meret Oppenheim in paper coat and sunglasses designed by herself, 1976
Collection Dominique Bürgi, Switzerland Claude Lê-Ahn, Boulogne