Born Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurran on November 11, 1911 in Santiago, Chile, he graduated with a degree in architecture from the Catholic University of Santiago in 1932 before moving to Paris to work in the studio of Le Corbusier. While in Europe, he travelled to Madrid where he was introduced to the famed Surrealist Salvador Dalí. It was Dalí who encouraged Matta to show his architectural drawings to André Breton and pursue a career in art. Now an accepted member of the Surrealist group, Matta settled in New York in 1938, began oil painting, and befriended American artists while maintaining ties with European friends like Yves Tanguy. In 1948, after the suicide of his friend Gorky, many of his American peers blamed Matta for the death, as he had slept his Gorky’s wife shortly before the tragic event. Ostracized, the artist returned to Europe, spending much of the rest of his life between Paris and Rome. He died on November 23, 2002 in Civitavecchia, Italy at the age of 91. Matta’s works are presently held in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.


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