“I am interested only in the unknown and I work from my own astonishment.” - Roberto Matta
Born November 11, 1911 in Santiago, Chile to Basque parents. He received his diploma in Architecture in 1931, after studying at Catholic University in Santiago for three years. From 1928 to 1936, Matta worked all over Europe as a merchant seaman, interior decorator and architectural assistant, including as a draughtsman for Le Corbusier. Matta was mostly self-taught in painting and worked as an independent painter in Paris, New York, Rome and Paris until 1955. He met playwright Federico Garcia Lorca in Spain, who introduced him to Salvador Dali, who in turn introduced him to the artist Andre Breton, 1934. With his “inscapes” and “psychological morphologies” he joined the Surrealist group, 1937-48 and moved with many of them from Paris to New York during WWII. His Surrealist paintings greatly influenced American Abstract Expressionism. Expelled from the Surrealists, he returns to Europe in 1949 and eventually becomes a French citizen. He founded the Etrusculudens, an Etruscan crafts artisan group, and presided over the Cultural Congress in Havana in 1966. Matta passed away November 23, 2002 in Civitavecchia, Italy.