Roberto Matta is considered one of the most influential artists from Latin America. Born in Santiago, Chile on November 11, 1912, he would later become one of the most important voices in the Abstract Expressionist and Surrealist Art Movements.
Enjoying a comfortable upbringing in Chile, Roberto Antonio Sebastian Matta Echaurren was born to a Spanish mother and Chilean father and spent much of his youth with particular emphasis on literature, poetry and art. He received a formal education from the Pontifica Universidad Catolica, with a specific focus on architecture and interior design.
Matta settled in Paris as an apprentice to architectural magnate Le Corbusier after joining the Merchant Marines. He worked under the tutelage of the architect for two years and established significant relationships with Latin American literary powerhouses including Pablo Neruda as well as renowned artists such as Salvador Dali and Andre Breton. As a patron to the young Matta, Andre Breton was so impressed with his works that he bought several of his illustrations, eventually inviting Matta to become a member of the Surrealist Group. In addition to surrealism however, Matta’s art was formative to the Abstract Expressionist movement as he was one of the first artists to delve into the genre.
Roberto Matta matured as an artist and by 1938 moved into the realm of biomorphic abstraction. His oil paintings were an exploration of the subconscious and were characterized by light patterns, cosmic landscapes and geometric forms. Oftentimes his paintings were referred to as “inscapes” as the artist looked inward towards his own feelings which were oftentimes tumultuous.
Roberto Matta produced art over a long six decade career, balancing his engagement with the external world as well as his own internal world. In addition to painting, Matta was also a ceramicist, photographer and video producer and became one of the most groundbreaking and significant Latin American artists to date.