press release

Haim Chanin Fine Arts presents an exhibition of works by world-renown Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta entitled Don Qui 1605 - 1985, on view April 3 through May 4, 2002. This will be the first time in more than fifteen years that the award-winning series has been shown in the U.S. The exhibition will feature over ten large pastel drawings on paper created in 1985 and influenced by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s novel The Adventures of Don Quijote de la Mancha.

Matta's deep interest in Don Quijote began when he was commissioned to illustrate several editions of the classic tale. Inspired by a close affinity to the theme Cervantes explores - isolation, the irrational, and dreams - Matta produced his own Don Qui series. Cervantes' story provides Matta with the perfect source of dream-like images of conflict and love. Matta’s personal experience even mirrored that of El Quijote’s. He has lived and worked all over the world in a constant search to construct a universe that integrates science and magic, past and present, and man’s inner and outer worlds.

In Don Qui 1605 - 1985, the title of each work is derived from a sentence in the book and each scene is colorfully interpreted in Matta’s lively, narrative style. Figures are drawn in soft pastels and float over rich, colorful backgrounds.

Matta, a Chilean-born artist of Basque-French parents, began his career studying architecture. In 1933, at age 21, he left his country for Paris where he worked closely with, and in the tradition of, Surrealists Dalí, Breton, and Duchamp. A relative latecomer to Surrealism, Matta’s eerie depictions of inner space pushed the Surrealist style towards Abstract Automatism, the precursor of what was to become Abstract Expressionism. In New York, where he was in exile for six years, Matta highly influenced pivotal painters such as Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell, William Baziotes and Jackson Pollock.

Since leaving New York in 1946, Matta has distanced himself from any specific movements and has worked and developed a style of his own. He has lived and worked all over the world but has spent most of his time between Paris, France and Tarquinia, Italy. He currently has a traveling exhibition entitled: “Matta in America: Paintings and Drawings of the 1940’s” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago which will also travel to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Miami Art Museum. Haim Chanin Fine Arts has loaned works for this traveling exhibition.


only in german

Roberto Matta: Don Qui 1605-1985