Matta in America: Paintings and Drawings of the 1940s


This exhibition focuses on Chilean-born artist Roberto Sebastian Matta’s time in the United States from 1939–48. During this decade, Matta developed some of the most unique and powerful works of his career, fusing surrealist practices of automatism with a wide-ranging approach to painting in which abstraction and figuration increasingly intertwined. He also helped forge important links between the European Surrealists in exile in the United States and a generation of younger American artists who would become known as abstract expressionists, with lasting consequences for the development of their work. Approximately 18 paintings and 20 drawings will be included in the exhibition, among them two key works from the MCA Collection.

This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the cocurators and William Rubin, Curator Emeritus at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.


This exhibition is supported by Herta and Paul Amir, Audrey M. Irmas, Northern Trust Corporation, and Muriel Kallis Newman.

Air transportation is provided by American Airlines, the official airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art.


With the launch of this website, the MCA has created a platform for archiving and publishing images and stories from our 50-year history. Though many exhibition pages currently lack descriptions or illustrations, we’re committed to a program of ongoing research that will fill in the blanks over time. If you have information about past MCA exhibitions to share, we’d be delighted to hear from you.