Meret Oppenheim - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I never collaborated with the Surrealists. I always did what I wanted and was discovered by them by chance, you might say.”
    —Meret Oppenheim, 1981

    • Provenance

      Gift of the artist
      Dr. Renate Stendhal, San Rafael, California

    • Catalogue Essay

      • 1 page German letter (recto and verso), undated (1975), blue ink, unsigned, recto page asks Renate Stendhal to bring nut crackers to the nut harvesting party she (Meret) organized in Fontenay (with sketch of the nutcracker she prefers), page 2 asks Renate Stendhal to correct the French in her own French translation of her Bern speech from 1974
      • Postage stamp-decorated envelope, dated October, 7, 1975, black ink, to Mme Renata Stendhal, Paris, initialed on the verso
      • 1 page note in German (one side), blue ink, unsigned, with little wood or walnut demon sketch (otherside) in purple ink, asking for 20 bottles of white wine (Sylvaner), two bottles of red Sélection Hédiard, 2 large loafs of pain d’Auvergne, and 1½ pounds of hard cheese (Swiss or French) for the party
      • Related note in German (one side), black ink, unsigned, saying Ruth (Henry, German journalist) is planning to join the party at 8pm with response saying that the harvesting party starts at 6 pm and everyone should come as early as possible
      • Related note in German (one side), blue and black ink, unsigned, inviting Renate Stendhal and friends to a nut-harvesting party in Fontenay-aux-Roses.
      • Envelope (Bern address stamp in purple, verso) with sketch of a devil in purple ink addressed to Renata Stendhal 30, passage D’enfer, Paris, inside is a 1 page German letter in purple ink (recto and verso), signed, dated ‘10.X 76’, about the gas heater turn-off and text on did conscious thought start with women in a matriarchal society? Were men forbidden to think and then took their revenge by denying women logical thought?
      • Related 1 page thank you note in German (recto and verso), black ink, on tinted blue painting paper (one side), initialed
      • 7 page French draft response to French writer and art critic Gilbert Lascault, Paris, dated ‘8.VII.76’, black ink, signed, on stiff yellow and beige paper (partly on the backside of catalogue raisonné draft pages), two extra long, glued together pages. A three page letter and four page response to Mr. Lascault listing eight principal points, a type of manifesto of her artistic beliefs – she does NOT see herself as a “woman artist”, which he had implied in his review of her work. She also does not accept being written about “as if she were a male artist” (as critic Alain Jouffroy had proposed) because that would be as absurd as saying to a black artist, “I will write about your work as if you were a white artist.”
      • 5 page German letter (recto and verso), Bern, dated ’20.I.77’ (on her Bern/Paris letterhead), black ink, signed, with two sketches, to Renate Stendhal, Meret instructs Renate in supervising construction changes and furniture questions for her new atelier-apartment on rue Beautreillis. The focal points are feminist arguments she was adding to Sarah Schulman’s interview with her. Also philosophical-spiritual thoughts about the “eternal return” or souls, which she prefers to see as a spiral.
      • 1 page German letter (recto and verso), Bern, dated ’18.III.77’, blue ink, signed, on thin paper, with small sketches of an oval tabletop, an iron grill for her apartment, and a newly cast bronze sculpture, “La spirale.” Her work with Dominique Bürgi on her oeuvre catalogue has reached the year 1974, and they are working “like crazy,” but can’t do any art work: “there’s nothing for myself – terrible.”
      • 1 page note German (recto and verso), undated, black ink, signed, with a sketched heart for “herzlich”, on tinted blue painting paper (one side), with practical instructions and addressing an article by a Mr. Kesselring, “Le Mur du silence” which she hates.

      Author Renate Stendhal was the studio assistant for Meret Oppenheim from 1973 to 1980 — the time when feminists and the art world (re)discovered the artist of Object the “fur-lined teacup.” Renate helped Meret brainstorm and formulate her position on women’s art, write her famous Basel speech, discuss bi-sexuality, and write German and French letters on the topic of feminism to male critics and writers. Stendhal’s account of her Paris years was published as Kiss Me Again, Paris: A Memoir, IFSF Publishing, 2016.


Group of 11 letters, notes and decorated envelopes

All unique ephemera. Please see itemized descriptions in the Catalogue Essay.

Full Cataloguing

$1,000 - 2,000 

Sold for $1,524

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212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023