Matta, Roberto

Matta, Roberto Biography

Chilean-born French artist, whose early oil paintings depict dreamlike landscapes occupied by mysterious organic shapes derived from animal forms, as well as plant life and minerals. In later works, organic, symbolic, and mechanical forms interact, sometimes violently, illustrating Matta's belief that all forces of the universe are interconnected.

Born in Santiago, Chile, Matta trained as an architect at the Catholic University there from 1929 to 1931. From 1934 to 1936 he worked for the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in Paris, France. During this period, he traveled to Madrid, Spain, where he met artists and writers influenced by surrealism, a movement that emphasized the role of chance and the subconscious mind in the creative process. Matta joined the surrealists in 1937 and exhibited drawings with them in Paris. The following year he began to incorporate chance into his oil paintings, using such techniques as pouring paint directly onto canvases to create unexpected forms. From 1939 to 1948 he lived in New York City, where he helped introduce the notion of chance to a group of artists who later founded the abstract expressionist movement.

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