Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Untitled 12994


Roberto Sebastián Matta (Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren) (Chile, 1911 - 11/23/2002, Tarquinia, Italy)



Creation Date

ca. 1950


mid-20th century


39 1/16 in. x 58 5/8 in. (99.22 cm x 148.91 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

South America, Chile

Medium and Support

charcoal and pastel on paper, mounted on board

Credit Line

Bequest of William H. Alexander, in memory of his friends, Major and Mrs. J. Tarn McGrew, Paris, France


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Accession Number

The Chilean artist Roberto Matta had already established a network of friends among European modernist architects and Surrealist artists when he arrived on the New York scene in 1939. There he played a pivotal role in the inception of Abstract Expressionism. In 1948 he left New York and lived an itinerant life in Europe and South America. Matta often initiated a work by making uncontrolled marks and smudges on paper (or canvas) that freed his imagination. He then built a composition around these random gestures. Chance and improvisation were to him the means to express the other, unspeakable, even unthinkable side of existence.

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