Roberto MATTA


CATALOG  |  BIOGRAPHY

Born: 1911, Santiago, Chile. Dead; 2002, San Paolo de Civitavecchia, Italy. Chilean painter, outstanding figure of Chilean pictorial art of the twentieth century, belonging to the Generation of 40.

Education: He studied at the Colegio de los Sagrados Corazones and studied architecture at the Catholic University of Santiago, where he graduated in 1931.

Experience: In Paris he worked with Le Corbusier (1934). Later he left the architecture to devote himself exclusively to pictorial art. In 1937, after working in London with Walter Gropius and Moholy-Nagy, he met André Breton, through Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí, and embraced Surrealist aesthetics (1937). Soon he painted his psychological morphologies (1938-1939), in which he devoted himself to the exploration of the unconscious and to "absolute automatism". In 1939 he traveled to New York, and resided until 1948. Since 1948 the stays in Europe, Chile and the United States have followed one another.
In 1956 he painted for Unesco the mural The doubt of the three worlds (1956). At the beginning of the 1970s he returned to his country invited by Salvador Allende, and worked in the collective murals with the Ramona Parra Brigade. In 1973 he participated in an exhibition in Bologna (Italy) in protest against the Augusto Pinochet regime, with the play Life Beyond Death.
In 1991 he inaugurated his Allegorical Mural to the Discovery of America in El Salvador, within the framework of the commemoration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of America.

Shows: Of his numerous exhibitions stand out the one of the Museum of Modern Art of New York (1953) and the one of the Contemporary Institute of Boston.

Awards: He received, among other recognitions, the Gold Medal of the Spanish Fine Arts (1985); the Prince of Asturias Award (1992), in Spain; the Herbert Baeckl Prize (1992), in Austria, and the National Art Prize (1990), in Chile.