Bone necklace with mouth, designed 1935–36, executed in 2014
18kt gold burnished
21 x 22.5 cm x 44 cm
edition 17 + 3AP
Gems and Ladders edition
Meret Oppenheim designed and commissioned the bone necklace with mouth in 1935-36. The original brass prototype is in a private collection, and the necklace is now realised from cut gold sheet. This necklace shows Oppenheim’s ability to collage materials and subjects: at the centre of the defensive row of bones is a feminine mouth. Collage was the perfect Surrealist medium and this piece also illustrates one of the artist’s lasting themes: bones featured in works throughout her career. Take for example her self-portrait of 1964 X-RAY of M.O.’s Skull (M.O. 1913-2000); the x-ray image suggests that the viewer might see the artist’s essence. Meret Oppenheim, however, teasingly pre-empted her own death in the work’s title and hid behind her earrings, rings and necklace, the metal objects that would endure for many decades thereafter.
Courtesy of the Artist and Gems and Ladders