September 29th, 2019

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Oeuvre

oeuvre [œ-vruh]
1a The body of work of a painter, composer, or author.

1b A work of art, music, or literature.


Since Schumann more or less stopped composing after Robert’s early death in 1856, when he was 46 and she was only 37, her oeuvre is relatively small - just 23 published works - and comprises almost exclusively solo piano pieces, chamber music and lieder. (Thomas May, Clara Schumann, Music’s Unsung Renaissance Woman, New York Times, 2019)

There are echoes here across the whole of Sacks’s voluminous oeuvre—tales differently told, glancing allusions to people encountered elsewhere, fragments of autobiography. (Simon Callow, Truth, Beauty, and Oliver Sacks, The New York Review Jun 20179

Several Americans have asked me why the rich people of France do not run this oeuvre themselves. (Getrrude Atherton, Life in the War Zone)


'a work,' especially a work of music or literature, also 'the body of work produced by an artist,' 1875, from French oeuvre 'work' (12c.), from Latin opera 'work, effort' (from PIE root op- 'to work, produce in abundance.'). (Online Etymology Dictionary)