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Lot 163: The Morphology of Desire

Est: £280,000 GBP - £350,000 GBPSold:
Christie'sJuly 01, 2008London, United Kingdom

Item Overview


Matta (1911-2002)
The Morphology of Desire
oil on canvas
28¾ x 36¼in. (73 x 92cm.)
Painted in 1938

Artist or Maker


New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Matta, September-October 1957 (illustrated, p. 10). This exhibition later travelled to Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, November-December 1957 and Boston, The Institute of Contemporary Art, January-March 1958.
Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Sebastian Matta: 15 former av tvivel (15 forms of doubting), October 1959, pp. 5 and 27.
Waltham, Massachuetts, Brandeis University, Rose Art Museum, Matta: The First Decade, May-June 1982 (illustrated in colour, p. 44).
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Matta, October-December 1985, no. 10 (illustrated in colour, p. 90).
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Années 30 en Europe, 1929-1939, Le temps menaçant, February-May 1997, no. 104 (illustrated, p. 232).
Beverly Hills, Latin American Masters, Roberto Matta, Paintings and Drawings 1937-1959, April-May 1997, no. 4 (illustrated in colour). This exhibition later travelled to Mexico City, Galería López Quiroga, June-July 1997.
Madrid, Museo de Arte Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Matta, January-April 1999 (illustrated in colour, p. 87).
Roslyn Harbor, The Nassau County Museum of Art, The Latin Century: Beyond the Border, August-November 2002 (illustrated in colour, p. 22).
Boston, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Matta: Making the Invisible Visible, February-May 2004, no. 4 (illustrated in colour, p. 90).


A. Breton, 'Des tendances les plus récentes de la peinture surréaliste', in Minotaure, Paris 1939, no. 12-13 (illustrated in colour, p. 26; dated 1937).
W. Rubin, 'Matta', 1957, reprinted in Matta: El Mediterráneo o el verbo América, exh. cat., Madrid, 1983, p. 23.
W. Rubin, Dada and Surrealist Art, New York 1968, no. 361 (illustrated, p. 353).
G. Ferrari, Matta, Entretiens Morphologiques, Notebook no. 1, 1936-1944, London 1987 (illustrated in colour, p. 78).


Gordon Onslow-Ford, Mill Valley (acquired directly from the artist in 1938).
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (on extended loan).
Anon. sale, Sotheby's New York, 31 May 2001, lot 12.
Anon. sale, Christie's New York, 28 May 2003, lot 28.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.
This work is recorded in the Matta archives as number 38/11.

Auction Details

Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale (Morning)

July 01, 2008, 10:00 AM WET

8 King Street, St. James's, London, LDN, SW1Y 6QT, UK