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Meret Oppenheim’s fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon is a favorite work of many visitors to The Museum of Modern Art. So vividly sensual as to be unsettling, this sculpture, which goes by the enigmatically plain title Object, was conceived in 1936, at a café on Paris’s Left Bank, where Pablo Picasso, seeing Oppenheim wearing a fur bracelet of her own design, mused that anything might be covered in fur; “Even this cup and saucer?” Oppenheim replied, and soon afterward showed Object in a Surrealist exhibition in the city. The work was exhibited at MoMA before the end of the year. Entering the collection with a strange combination of speed and circuitousness, it rapidly became notorious, living a life in the imagination of its viewers that longtime MoMA curator Carolyn Lanchner ably evokes in her comprehensive and spirited essay in this book.
Each volume in the One on One series is a sustained meditation of a single work from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art. A richly illustrated and lively essay illuminates the subject in detail and situates that work within the artist’s life and career as well as within broader historical contexts. This series is an invaluable guide for exploring and interpreting some of the most beloved artworks in the Museum’s collection.