One of Chile’s most well-known painters is Robert Matta. Born Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta Echaurren, Matta is considered an influential figure in the abstract expressionist and surrealist art movement of the 20th century. Born on 11 November 1911 in Santiago, we was a student at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile where he studied architecture and interior design. Whilst at university, he travelled across South America visiting places such as a Peru and Panama, where he took the opportunity to make many surreal drawings of the natural world around him. Matta went onto to further travel Europe and the USA where he met other artists such as Salvador Dalí, Le Corbusier and Arshile Gorky.
In 1938 Matta made a transition from drawing to oil painting and it his oil paintings which really set him out as an influential figure in the art world. Around this time, Matta had moved to the US and his painting, ‘Invasion of the Night’ was to set the bar of the work he would go onto produce, as he diffused light patterns and lines on featureless backgrounds. Matta’s work saw him often blend organic and cosmic mass in order to create new dimension and it was one of the first artists to take this bold abstract move. Matta died on 23 November 2002 in Civitavecchia, Italy.