The Chilean artist Matta had already established a network of friends among European modernist architects and Surrealist artists when he arrived on the New York scene in 1939. There he played a pivotal role in the inception of Abstract Expressionism. This oil painting on paper dates to the next phase of Matta’s career, when he lived an itinerant life in Europe and pursued work that clashed with the expectations of his European and American cohorts. Matta initiated works such as this one by making uncontrolled marks and smudges that freed his imagination. He then interpreted these notations with pencil and crayons. Chance and improvisation became the means to express the other unspeakable, even unthinkable side of existence. Like his friend and collaborator Marcel Duchamp, Matta made human desires and the workings of the mind a constant concern.
Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to
provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.