Roberto Antonio Sebastián Matta Echaurren was born on November 11, 1911 in Santiago, Chile. Matta was educated in his native country as an architect and interior designer at the Sacré Coeur Jesuit
College and at the Catholic University of Santiago, from 1929-31. In 1933 he became a Merchant Marine which enabled him to leave Santiago and travel to Europe. From 1933-34 he worked in Paris as an atelier for famed-architect Lecorbusier. At the end of 1934 Matta visited Spain, where he met the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, who through a letter, introduced young Roberto to Salvador Dalí. Dali inturn encouraged Matta to show some of his drawings to Andre Breton.
Matta's acquaintance with Dali and Breton strongly influenced his artistic formation and subsequently connected him to the Surrealist movement, which he officially joined in 1937. He was in London for a
The summer of 1938 marks the evolution of Matta's work from drawing to painting. Roberto completed his first inscape oil paintings while in Brittany and working with Gordon Onslow Ford in Brittany. Forced to leave Europe with the outbreak of war, Roberto arrived in New York in the Fall of 1938. In an article by Kathy Zimmerer of Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, she describes Crucifiction  as: "evolving biomorphic forms that mutate and flow across the surface of the canvas Matta's fluid realm of space cushions their journey. His luminous palette of deep crimson, yellow, blue and black, defines and outlines the organic forms as they undergo metamorphoses."
Crucifiction is representative of a non-figurative period of Matta's work where he developed his palette and use of color to create energized forms and space. Consistent with his later works and
In addition to Tanguay's strong influence, there are parallels between Picasso's Guernica and Matta's Crucifixion. Both works of art motivated by their respecitve spiritual and social consciousness. In
Roberto Matta first exhibited in the Julian Levy Gallery, New York in 1940. The 40's signified the re-entry of the human figure in Matta's compositions creating a compositional dialogue of Man vs. the
In 1947, Matta was expelled from the surrealists. By 1950's and 60's he established homes in Rome, Paris, and London. Roberto visited Cuba in 1960's to work with art students. 1962 awarded the
The 1960's marked not only a change in his themes, but in his style. He found influence in contemporary culture while remaining close to his Surrealist roots. His work can generally be split into two areas: cosmic and apocalyptic paintings. Elle s'y Gare, is an example of the cosmic arena and what Andre Breton called "absolute automatism". The idea of automatism was a key element of the Surrealist movement, which emphasized the suppression of conscious control over a composition in order to give free reign to the unconscious imagery and associations. Matta used automatism in a manner that allowed one form to give rise to another until unification was achieved or until further elaboration destroyed the composition. These "chance" compositions are exploited with a fully conscious purpose. The artist takes over.
As Chilean painter, printmaker and draughtsman, Matta left Chile as a young man and did not like to be thought of as a "Latin American" artist. He was certainly one of the few Surrealist artists to take on