Heir Apparent: Bio
image of Henri Michaux

Roberto Matta, one of Chile’s best-known painters, was a seminal figure in 20th century abstract expressionism and surrealism. Born in Santiago, he initially studied architecture, but became disillusioned with his studies and moved to Paris in 1933, where he met Magritte and Andre Breton. He officially joined the short-lived Surrealist Party in 1937. During the 1950s-60s, Matta, dividing his life between Europe and South America, was a strong supporter of the socialist government of president Salvador Allende in Chile. Matta’s 4 by 24 meter mural, The First Goal of the Chilean People, was painted over with 16 coats of paint by Augusto Pichochet’s military regime following their overthrow of Allende in 1973. In 2005 the mural was discovered by local officials. In 2008 the mural was completely restored, and is displayed today in Santiago at the La Granja city hall. Throughout his life, Matta worked with many different types of media, including ceramics, photography, and video.