Roberto Matta was born on November 11th 1911, and was
one of Chile's best-known painters and a seminal figure of Surrealism,
having also influenced the development of Abstract Expressionism.
Born in Santiago, he initially studied architecture
at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, but became
disillusioned with this occupation and left for Paris in 1933. His travels
in Europe and the USA led him to meet artists such as Arshile Gorky, René
Magritte, Salvador Dalí, André Breton, and Le Corbusier. Matta was of
Spanish, Basque and French descent.
It was Breton who provided the major spur to the Chilean's
direction in art, encouraging his work and introducing him to the leading
members of the Paris Surrealist movement. Matta produced illustrations and
articles for Surrealist journals such as Minotaure. During this period he
was introduced to the work of many prominent contemporary European artists,
such as Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.