Foyer Installation: Roberto Matta

In May 1953, the Alexander Iolas Gallery in New York mounted an exhibition of recent work by the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta. Titled Rome, 1949-1953, the show presented seventeen abstract paintings created after the artist’s relocation from the United States to Italy. This display, drawn entirely from the Menil’s permanent holdings, reunites a group of paintings from the 1953 exhibition. The hallucinatory landscapes and cosmic spaces filled with eerie, organic shapes in off-key, fluorescent colors bring together Matta’s interest in physics and relativity. He felt that art must delve into the metaphysical questions of human existence, in part as a reaction to the horrors of World War II.