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Image of Untitled 13078


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



Creation Date

ca. 1951


mid-20th century


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



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


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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 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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