Roberto Matta


Roberto Matta (1911-2002, Chile) painted large-scale compositions that bridged the figurative dreamscapes of Surrealism with the emotive gestures of Abstract Expressionism. One of Chile’s best-known painters, Matta was a seminal figure in the development of twentieth-century artistic movements and influenced the work of peers Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell. Matta’s oeuvre incorporates a mélange of geometric and biomorphic shapes that occasionally construct representational scenes. The artist’s visual language was greatly impacted by the disturbing state of world politics during the 1940s and 1950s, as seen in his canvases busy with images of machinery and distressed figures.


Matta studied architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Throughout his lifetime, he lived in South America, Europe and the United States. In 1995, the artist was awarded the Praemium Imperiale. Today, his works are found in the Tate Gallery (London), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and Guggenheim (Venice), among other prestigious international collections.


Related Works

  • Transvanguardian artist Mimmo Paldino invokes a similar surrealist sense of play in his allegorical sculptures and prints. View his work.

  • Jaune Quick-To-See Smith’s gestural technique energizes her paintings, much like Matta’s own style of dynamic mark-making. View her work.