To Escape the Absolute

Roberto Matta, Chilean, 1911 - 2002


Oil on canvas

37 3/4 × 49 3/4 inches (95.9 × 126.4 cm)

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 169, Modern and Contemporary Art, first floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Sylvia and Joseph Slifka, 2004

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A prominent figure in the Surrealist movement, Roberto Matta sought to give visual form to the human psyche, representing it as a mysterious, ethereal realm. He painted To Escape the Absolute during his 1939 to 1948 stay in the United States, where his presence had a catalytic effect on the younger generation of American avant-garde artists, such as the future Abstract Expressionists Arshile Gorky (1904–1948) and Robert Motherwell (1915–1991).

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