Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Untitled 13043


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



Creation Date

ca. 1951-1953


mid-20th century


18 in. x 25 in. (45.72 cm x 63.5 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

South America, Chile

Medium and Support

graphite and crayon on paper

Credit Line

Bequest of William H. Alexander


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Accession Number

The Chilean artist 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. This drawing dates to the next phase of Matta’s career, when he lived an itinerant life in Europe (from 1948), and pursued work that clashed with the expectations of his European and American cohorts. Matta initiated a work by making uncontrolled marks and smudges on paper (or canvas) that freed his imagination. He then interpreted these notations with pencil and crayons. Chance and improvisation were to him the means to express the other, unspeakable, even unthinkable side of existence. Like his friend and collaborator Marcel Duchamp, for Matta human desires and the workings of the mind were a constant concern.

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