1 -Lookouts on targets, 1959
Etching and aquatint
Paper handmade by the artist with watermarked signature of “Matta” and the initials “HM”
Dimensions: 24 x 32 cm
Signed in the lower right margin "Matta"
Roberto Matta Echaurren also known as Matta is a surrealist painter born in Santiago de Chile in 1911. He began studying architecture at the University of Santiago from which he graduated in 1935. He returned from his trips to Peru and Panama with many drawings before leaving for Europe. Living in Paris, he worked for a while in Le Corbusier's atelier and met many artists there. It was then, encouraged by André Breton, that he was introduced to the Parisian surrealist movement. Matta drew and wrote on architecture for surrealist magazines such as “Minotaur” and moved away from Le Corbusier's rationalist vision. He subsequently met Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. At the end of the 1930s, he painted a series of paintings: “Psychological morphologies” for which he experimented with a new technique approaching the automatic writing process.
Refugee in New York during the War, he exhibited for the first time at Julien Levy gallery specializing in Surrealism. Matta began working with phosphorescent pigments to give his canvases the possibility of producing images that vary according to the lighting, taking inspiration from the scientific press. After the War, Roberto Matta returned to France to exhibit at the Maeght gallery. However, he was excluded from the surrealist group in 1948. Until the 1950s, he continued a work of illustrations, working in particular with Denis de Rougemont for his “Letters on the atomic bomb” (1946), or with Henri Michaux, a Belgian writer, poet and artist for "Lookouts on targets", which he illustrated with nine etchings and aquatints in 1959.
This proof is part of the original edition illustrated with 9 etchings and aquatints in colors inset by Roberto Matta. The edition was limited to 99 copies on hand-made paper, each sheet of which bears the monogram of Henri Michaux and the signature of Matta in watermark.
Committed artist, his monumental pictorial work illustrated various contemporary tragedies as with "The Question, Djamila" painted in 1964, in which he paid homage - just like Picasso - to Djamila Boupacha. With the work “Burn, Baby Burn” he denounced the absurdity of the Vietnam War. After the coup d'état in Chile in 1973, he cut all ties with his native country. He continued to exhibit in France (retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1985) and in Spain (retrospective at the Reina Sofia Museum in 1999). His work will not be presented in Chile until after his death, at the end of the 2000s.