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Table

Table

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (designed)
    Italy (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1938-1939 (designed)
    1972-1984 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Oppenheim, Meret, born 1913 - died 1985 (designer)
    Simon International (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilded wood table top with bronze legs

  • Museum number:

    W.21-1981

  • Gallery location:

    Fashion, Room 40, case CA10

Meret Oppenheim was a painter and sculptor who moved to Paris in 1918 and became part of the circle of Swiss Surrealists which included Jean Arp and Alberto Giacometti. She initially designed this table in 1938 and the prototype was exhibited in an exhibition of furniture at the Galeries René Drouin, Paris in 1939. Other exhibiting artists included Max Ernst, Leonor Fini and Eugene Berman.

The table was not put into production until 1972 when an Italian firm, Simon International, included the design in a new range. It continued to be made until at least 1984.

Physical description

Oval table top, gilded wood, and indented with two bird's foot marks, standing on two bronze bird's legs, similar to storks' legs, terminating in claw feet.

Place of Origin

Paris (designed)
Italy (probably, made)

Date

1938-1939 (designed)
1972-1984 (made)

Artist/maker

Oppenheim, Meret, born 1913 - died 1985 (designer)
Simon International (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

Gilded wood table top with bronze legs

Dimensions

Height: 63.8 cm, Width: 68 cm, Depth: 53.2 cm

Object history note

In 1939 Meret Oppenheim showed a bird-footed table in an exhibition of fantasy furniture in the Galerie Réné Drouin-Leo Castelli in Paris. 'Meret Oppenheim: Spuren durchstandener Freiheit, Zurich, 1982' illustrates the table - the top is decorated with large numbers of footmarks, unlike the V&A example which only has two. No records or more than one being made. In 1972 the Italian firm Simon International produced a range of 'mobilia de poeisia', including the Oppenheim-table. They carried on producing the table at least until 1984, when an example was sold by the Christies. It is illustrated in the catalogue. An other example can be seen in the Domus report on the Milan furniture fair for 1972. Both look exactly like the V&A one, with the two footmarks on the top. The Acquisition file refers to a company in Vienna which has made a limited edition of 50 in the 1980s.

The V&A example was acquired in 1981 from Lewis Kaplan Associates. It seems likely that it is a post-1972 Simon International table. The only evidence in favour of an earlier date comes from Gordon Watson of Lewis Kaplan. He said that he had bought the table from Mr. Sander Feldman, an American stockbroker and collector of Danish pottery. Who had been given it as a wedding present by a Swiss uncle around 1965.

Descriptive line

Small gilded table with oval top and bronze stork legs, designed by Meret Oppenheim in Paris in 1938-1939, made by Simon International, possibly in Italy, 1972-1984.

Labels and date

TABLE

Designed by Meret Oppenheim (Swiss, born Berlin, 1913-1985), 1936-38
Probably made by Simon International, Italy, 1972-84
Gilt wood and bronze

Oppenheim was a painter and sculptor who moved to Paris in 1918 and became part of the circle of Swiss Surrealists - including Jean Arp and Alberto Giacometti - living in the French capital. Oppenheim showed a similar table at an exhibition of fantastic furniture at the Galeries René Drouin, Paris in 1939. Other exhibiting artists included Max Ernst, Leonor Fini and Eugene Berman.

W.21-1981 [2006]

Materials

Wood; Bronze

Techniques

Gilding

Subjects depicted

Footprints

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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