The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD,
Senior Contributing Editor.
Highly regarded in Europe and Latin America, the Chilean painter Roberto
Matta-Echaurren (1911-2002) has only in recent years begun to be appreciated
in the United States. Born in Santiago and educated as an architect at the
Catholic University of Santiago, Matta left Chile in 1933 to work as a draftsman
in the Paris atelier of Le Corbusier. Thus began an odyssey that would take
him to Spain, Scandinavia, Russia, London, and finally, to New York City and
Mexico. In Spain, he met and was influenced by members of its artistic community,
among them the playwright Federico García Lorca and the painter Salvador
Dalí. In Scandinavia he studied architecture and in Russia he helped
design housing projects. He also worked with Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
In 1938, after André Breton had seen some of his drawings, he was invited
to join the Surrealists. He became a friend of Marcel Duchamp. But it was
Picasso's Guernica, which he first saw in Paris in
1937, that decided the direction of Matta's career. Large in size, yet spare
in its images, the work had an impact, and with it an eloquence, new to 20th-century
art. Matta would later adapt these same physical characteristics to his own
Southgate MT. The Vertigo of Eros (Le vertige d'Eros). JAMA. 2004;291(6):667. doi:10.1001/jama.291.6.667
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