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Roberto Matta

(1911-2002)

Aliases: Roberto Antonio Sebastian Matta Echauren, Roberto Echauren Matta, Roberto Echaurren Matta, Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echauren, Roberto Matta Echaurren, Sebastian Matta Echaurren, Roberto Matta, Roberto sebastian Matta, Matta

Painter

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Biography

(born Santiago Chile 1911; died 2002) Chilean painter, sculptor. Born in Santiago, Chile, Roberto Matta was at first interested in architecture, studying the discipline at Catholic University in Santiago and later working as a draftsman in Paris for the famed French architect Le Corbusier from 1934-7. Despite being born and raised in Chile, Matta gained most of his artistic influence at the beginning of his career while abroad in France and Spain. On a visit to Spain, Matta met Salvador Dali and Andre Breton. Breton invited Matta to join the Surrealist Movement in 1937. Influenced by both fellow surrealists and the work of Marcel Duchamp, Matta created his first colored drawings that year and his first oil paintings the next. During the late 1930s he created paintings, among them a series later known as “Psychological Morphologies”, that typical of the Surrealist Movement, explored the inner psyche and also focused on themes of transition and metamorphosis. In 1939 Matta left Europe for New York, as part of a tide of European artists that came to the US on the eve of World War II and as a result influenced young American artists, including the Abstract Expressionists. Matta befriended such American artists as Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock, and had his first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1940. Disturbed by the current global events, Matta started to break away from the Surrealist Movement, as part of a desire to shift from looking internally to externally; severing ties with the Surrealists in 1948. His paintings focused on the human condition and its relationship with the ever advancing industrial world, becoming more structured and less abstract in the process. He returned to Europe in the 1950s; traveled extensively in the 1960s and 1970s and explored new mediums such as ceramics and tapestry. His work has been shown throughout the world, including MOMA, Pompidou, and the Nationalgalerie. In 1999 he had a retrospective in Barcelona and Madrid.

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