Traccia thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Imagine Gallery, The Living Room, Case 3

Traccia

Table
1938-1939 (designed), 1972-1984 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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.


Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleTraccia (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Gilded wood table top with bronze legs
Brief description
Table, 'Traccia', designed by Meret Oppenheim, giltwood top and bronze base, 1938-9; probably made by Simon International, 1972-84
Physical description
A gilded wood, oval shaped table, indented on the top with two bird's foot marks, standing on two bronze bird's legs, similar to storks' legs, terminating in claw feet.
Dimensions
  • Height: 63.8cm
  • Width: 68cm
  • Depth: 53.2cm
Style
Gallery label
  • Imagine a bird table… Tables and chairs need legs, so why not make them look like a bird’s legs? Designer Méret Oppenheim liked to use ideas from her dreams, which might explain why this table looks like it jumped out of one. Strange-looking furniture, clothes and art were very fashionable when Méret designed it in the 1930s. Traccia table Designed by Méret Oppenheim, 1938–39, Paris Manufactured by Simon International, about 1972–80, Italy Bronze and gilded wood Museum no. W.21-1981 [Young V&A, Imagine Gallery, The Living Room, long object label] (01/07/2023)
  • 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)
Object history
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 of more than one being made.

In 1972 the Italian firm Simon International produced a range of 'mobilia de poeisia', including the Oppenheim-table. They continued to produce the table at least until 1984, when an example was sold by Christies and illustrated in the catalogue. Another example can be seen in the Domus report on the Milan furniture fair, 1972. Both look exactly like the V&A table, with the two footmarks on the top. The Acquisition file refers to a company in Vienna which 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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession number
W.21-1981

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Record createdMay 8, 2006
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