Santiago, 1911 – Civitavecchia, 2002
Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta Eschaurren, said Roberto Matta, was born in Chile (Chiloe) in 1911. Grown in a worthy family, he studied Architecture at the University of Santiago-du-Chili and obtained his degree in architecture in 1931. He came to Europe, visited numerous countries, and settled down one time in Paris where he worked in Le Corbusier’s atelier. He left Paris for London and practiced with Walter Gropius and with Moholy-Nagy; he met Henry Moore and Magritte.
Discovered in the “Cahiers d’Art”, Matta liked the work of Duchamp and the esotericism. The surrealism called him! Matta drew more and more and his ability to conceive forms in the space, his natural skill, his stunning imagination and ceaselessly on the alert, were shown trough his work already. He met Dali, who introduced him to André Breton. He was a provocative, a captivating young man always dressed in white, the surrealist group « enlisted him » immediately.
Matta began painting in 1938 and, the same year, participated in the International Exhibition of the Surrealism. He emigrated to New York in 1940; he met a lot of surrealists there, got acquainted with Marcel Duchamp, contributed to several reviews. Matta went back to Paris; he painted, did decorations of theater, and was …”excluded” from the surrealist group in 1948 (this same group “reinstated” him in 1959!).
Matta settled down in Rome from 1949 till 1954, then, became itinerant, sharing his time between France and Italy, stayed in North and South America (Cuba). He was discharged of his Chilean nationality in 1974, after he had participated actively in the demonstrations following the fall of the President Allende.
Pioneer above all, painter of the dreams and the feelings, Roberto Matta’s work is present in the biggest museums of the world and the list of the exhibitions organized on his name is not ready to be closed.
He passed away on November 23rd, 2002 in Civitavecchia, near Rome.