Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Untitled 13078

2003.11.54

Artist

Roberto Sebastián Matta

Title

Untitled

Creation Date

ca. 1951

Century

mid-20th century

Dimensions

15 1/2 x 23 3/8 in. (39.37 x 59.37 cm)

Object Type

painting

Creation Place

South America

Medium and Support

oil on paper, mounted on wood panel

Credit Line

Bequest of William H. Alexander, in memory of his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. William Homer Alexander

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

2003.11.54
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 oil painting on paper dates to the next phase of Matta’s career, when he lived an itinerant life in Europe and pursued work that clashed with the expectations of his European and American cohorts. Matta initiated works such as this one by making uncontrolled marks and smudges that freed his imagination. He then interpreted these notations with pencil and crayons. Chance and improvisation became the means to express the other unspeakable, even unthinkable side of existence. Like his friend and collaborator Marcel Duchamp, Matta made human desires and the workings of the mind a constant concern.

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