He was born on 11 November 1911 in Santiago de Chile and, after studying architecture, in 1934 he moved to Paris, where he came into contact with Le Corbusier, André Breton and Salvador Dalì, adhering to surrealism. His painting focuses on psychological morphologies. Like many other avant-garde artists, during the Second World War he fled to New York, where he inspired young artists such as Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky. In 1949 he moved to Rome, where he became an important link between abstract expressionism and Italian abstractionism. In the sixties he divided his time between Paris and Tarquinia. In 1985 the Centre Georges Pompidou dedicated a major retrospective to him and the director Chris Marker made a documentary, Matta ’85.