Roberto Matta  (Chilean, 1911-2002) 

Roberto Matta (Chilean, 1911–2002) was a sketch artist and painter known for his work in the Abstract Expressionist and Surrealist movements during the 20th century. He was born Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta Echaurren on November 11, 1911, in Santiago, Chile. The artist studied architecture and interior design at the Ponificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

In 1933, Matta moved to Paris, France, to work for famed architect Le Corbusier (French, 1887–1965). In 1934, he traveled to Madrid, Spain. There he was introduced to Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989), who encouraged Matta to show his drawings to André Breton (French, 1896–1966). Breton and Dalí connected Matta to the Surrealist movement, which he officially joined in 1937. Matta had twin sons who were both artists, Gordon Matta-Clark (American, 1943–1978) and Sebastian Matta-Clark (American, 1943–1976). He also had a son who is a composer, Ramuntcho Matta (French, b.1960), and a daughter who is a painter, Federica Matta (French, b.1955).

In 1938, Matta left Europe and went to New York City. During this time, his artwork also evolved from drawings to oil paintings, which is what he is best known for. For the next decade, the artist lived and worked in the United States, creating his Inscape series. Matta's connections to the Surrealist movement were severed over a disagreement that concerned Arshile Gorky (Armenian, 1904–1948) and his family. He was accused of having a relationship with Gorky's wife that led Gorky to commit suicide. This led to his expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but by this time Matta had already made a name for himself.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the artist divided his time between South America and Europe. His paintings combined politics with semi-Abstract Art. He tended to paint on vast canvases and created a mural entitled The First Goal of the Chilean People for Salvador Allende, the president of Chile at the time. Some of Matta's best-known work include The Road to Heaven, Storming Water River and Redness of Blue, Polimorfologia, Wound Interrogation and The Prophet, Dark Light, Lieberos, Nude Hiding in the Forest and Verginosamente, and La Terre Uni. Matta died on November 23, 2002, in Civiavecchia, Italy.

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Roberto Matta, L'Aveugle


Roberto Matta

Heather James Fine Art
Roberto Matta, Condenti Irreflective


Roberto Matta
Condenti Irreflective
Heather James Fine Art
Roberto Matta, Untitled


Roberto Matta
circa 1940-1949

Heather James Fine Art
Roberto Matta, Let's Phosphoresce


Roberto Matta
Let's Phosphoresce

Heather James Fine Art
Roberto Matta, The Tender Lion


Roberto Matta
The Tender Lion

AAMD Fine Art
Roberto Matta, Casting


Roberto Matta

Auction: Apr 27, 2014
Perrin, Royere, Lajeunesse - Versailles Enchères
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Roberto Matta, Bouche d'Incendie


Roberto Matta
Bouche d'Incendie
Auction: Apr 28, 2014
Bukowskis Stockholm
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Roberto Matta, Centre Noeuds (set of 10 works)


Roberto Matta
Centre Noeuds (set of 10 works)

Auction: Apr 28, 2014
Phillips New York
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Roberto Matta, Centre noeuds" (Plate 1)


Roberto Matta
Centre noeuds" (Plate 1)

Jane Kahan Gallery
Past auction results (5343)  View All
Roberto Matta, La Danse de la Mort (portfolio of 8)


Roberto Matta
La Danse de la Mort (portfolio of 8), 1972
color aquatint etchings


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Roberto Matta, 10PM from L'Arc Obscur des Heures


Roberto Matta
10PM from L'Arc Obscur des Heures, 1975
aquatint etching


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Roberto Matta, Epaisser de haut-mer from Hom'mere II - L'Eautre


Roberto Matta
Epaisser de haut-mer from Hom'mere II - L'Eautre, 1974-1975
color aquatint etching


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1911   Born: Santiago, Chile
1928   Worked as an interior decorator, Santiago, Chile
1929 - 1931   Studied architecture, Catholic University, Santiago, Chile
1933   Worked as a merchant seaman, Compagnie Transatlantique ship, to Europe
1934 - 1936   Worked as an architectural assistant, Le Corbusier studio, Paris, France
1937   On invitation by Andre Breton, joined the Surrealist group
1934 - 1939   Lived in Paris, France
1937 - 1948   Member, with Federico Garcia Lorca, André Breton, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Surrealist Group Paris, France
1939 - 1948   Lived in New York, NY
1950 - 1954   Lived in Rome, Italy
1955   Moved to Paris, France
1962   Awarded Premio Marzotto, Rome, Italy
1966   Visiting Instructor at School of Art, Minneapolis, MN
1968   President, Cultural Congress, Havana, Cuba
1972   Founder, Etrusculudens, Etruscan crafts artisan group
2002   Died: Civitavecchia, Italy
2012   Oils, sculptures and mixed media - Galleria d'Arte Maggiore, Bologna
2011   Matta100 - MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile, Santiago
2011   Matta 1911-2011 - Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao
2009   Latitudes, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2008   Descubritorio Matta, Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago, Chile (solo)
2007   Gravures: Roberto Matta, Galerie Renee Ziegler, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2004   Roberto Matta, Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC (solo)
Matta, Malingue, Paris, France (solo)
Matta: Making the Invisible Visible, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA (solo)
2003   Matta 1938-1971, Galleria de'Foscherari, Bologna, Italy (solo)
2002   Matta in America: Paintings and Drawings of the 1940s, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (solo)
2000   Matta: Oper Dal 1957 al 1993, Galleria Patrizia Poggi, Ravenna, Italy (solo)
Matta El Ano de los Tres 000, Fundacion Telefonica, Santiago, Chile (solo)
1999   Matta, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (solo)
Borges Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina (solo)
1998   Matta: Surrealism and Beyond, Haggerty Museum of Art, Chicago, IL (solo)
1997   Roberto Matta: Paintings and Drawings 1937-1959, Galeria Lopez Quiroga, Mexico City, Mexico (solo)
Matta: Paintings and Drawings, Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Matta: Re-generation, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida (solo)
Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1995   Transparency in the Art of the 20th Century, Musee des Beaux-Arts Andre Malraux, Le Havre, France
1993   Matta: Engravings, Galeria Arte Actual, Santiago, Chile (solo)
Matta: Works from Chicago Collections, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
1992   Crosscurrents of Modernism: Four Latin American Pioneers, Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
1991   matta Exhibition: One verse 11-11-11, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile (solo)
1990   Matta: Drawings 1937-1946, Acquavella Contemporary Art, New York, NY (solo)
1989   Aspects of Modern Art in France, Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris, France
1988   Matta: Drawings 1937-88, Museum Bochum, Germany (solo)
Italy Matta: Matta in Italy, Palazzo Venezia, Rome, Italy (solo)
Matta: The Early Years, Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1985   Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (solo)
1984   The Logic of Hallucination [Drawings], Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (solo)
Artistic Collaboration in the Twentieth Century, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
1982   60 Works: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
1981   Graphics, American Academy of Rome, Rome, Italy (solo)
A New Spirit in Painting, Royal Academy of Art, London, UK
1978   Hom'mere (Etchings), Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge University, Cambridge, MA (solo)
1976   Homage aux Pyrénées, Château de Castellnou, Castellnou (solo)
1975   A Totemic World, Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, Andrew Crispo Gallery, New York, NY
Pastelli, L'Homme Descend du Signe, Galleria dell'Oca, Rome, Italy (solo)
Surrealism, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
1974   The Early Years: A Selection of Paintings and Drawings from the Years 1939 - 1957, Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1973   Sebastian Matta/dipinti, disegni e incisioni 1957 - 1973, Galleria Schubert, Milan, Italy (solo)
1971   In the Space of a Chilean Week, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre, France (solo)
1970   Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturebesitz, Berlin, Germany (solo)
1969   The Revolution is Architecture, Centre Culturel Municipal, Villeparisis, France (solo)
1968   Painting in France 1900 - 1967, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
1967   Galeria Latinoamerica, Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba (solo)
Matta, Being with, Saint Denis, France
1965   La Llave de los Campos, Galeria del Techo, Caracas, Venezuela
The Open Cube, Kunstmuseum, Lucerne, Switzerland (solo)
1963   Sebastian Matta: Mostra Antologica in Bologna, Museo Civico, Bologne (solo)
Within the Easel Convention: Sources of Abstract-Expressionism, The Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1962   Drawings, Pastels and Paintings, Allan Frumlin Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
Art Since 1950, American and International, Seattle World's Fair, Seattle, WA
1960   Sculptures by Matta, Galerie du Dragon, Paris, France (solo)
1959   15 Forms of Doubting, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (solo)
Retrospective, Stockholm, Sweden
1958   50 Ans d'Art Moderne, Palais International des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
1957   Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
1955   Matta of Chile, Pan American Union, Washington, DC (solo)
1952   Designs by Matta, Galerie Nina Dausset, Paris, France (solo)
1952   L'Ouvre du XXe siècle, Peintures, Sculptures, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, France
1951   Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (solo)
1948   40,000 Years of Modern Art, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK
1947   Matta (Preface by Andre Breton), Galerie René Drouin, Paris, France (solo)
Fifty-Eighth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture: Abstract and Surrealist American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1944   Twelve Contemporary Painters, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1943   War and the Artist, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, NY
1942   Oils, Pencils and Paintings, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (solo)
Peggy Guggenheim's Collection of Paintings, Sculpture, Collages, Drawings, Objects and Photography...Pioneer Art Movement, Art of this Century Gallery, New York, NY
1940   Tchelitchew, Matta and Walt Disney, Julien Levy Gallery, New York, NY
1938   Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France