Roberto Sebastian Matta Biography

Roberto Sebastian Matta




Matta (Roberto Sebastian Antonio Matta Echaurren), painter, muralist, printmaker, draughtsman and ceramist, was born in Santiago, Chile on November 11, 1911.

Matta studied at the College of the Sacred Heart and received his diploma in architectural studies in 1928 from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. His interests soon veered away from architecture and he began his artistic career as a draughtsman. He moved to Paris in 1933 and traveled Europe, meeting Federico Garcia Lorca who introduced him to Dali.

Thanks to Dali, Matta joined the surrealist movement in 1937 and contributed to the their publications. He began painting in 1938 and that same year he participated in the International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris. He was excluded from the surrealist group in 1947 but was reinstated in 1959.

Exiled to the United States in 1939, Matta settled in New York and worked at Atelier 17 (located at The New School) between 1943 and 1947, returning to work there from time to time in the 1950s.

Matta's first solo exhibition in the US was at the Julian Levy Gallery in 1940. After the war, Matta moved to Italy, dividing his time between Rome and Bologna. Since 1957, numerous retrospective exhibitions of his work have been mounted internationally. Matta died in Civitavecchia, Italy on November 23, 2002.