(Roberto Sebastien Antonio Matta Eschaurren) (1911-)
Chilean-born French painter. He was a leading figure, along with André Masson, of Surrealist-inspired automatic painting, in which images are allowed to flow from the unconscious through the hand directly onto paper or canvas. His expressed intention in much of his work is an attempt to define the anxieties of the age through the force and motion of forms, as in Years of Fear 1942 (Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York).
Trained as an architect, Matta spent World War II in New York where he met and was influenced by Marcel Duchamp. His first mature work of the 1940s explodes with bursts of color and skeins of indefinable organic or mechanistic form, generally hurtling or floating in cosmic space. His style became more figurative and calligraphic in the 1980s.