Roberto Antonio Sebastián Matta Echaurren was born on November 11, 1911 in Santiago, Chile. Matta was educated in his native country as an architect and interior designerat the Sacré Coeur Jesuit College and at the Catholic University of Santiago, from 1929-31. In 1933 he became a Merchant Marine which enabled him to leave Santiago and travel to Europe. From 1933-34he worked in Paris at the atelier of famed architect Le Corbusier. At the end of 1934 Matta visited Spain, where he met the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, who through a letter, introducedyoung Roberto to Salvador Dalí. Dali in turn encouraged Matta to show some of his drawings to Andre Breton.
Matta's acquaintance with Dali and Breton strongly influenced his artistic formation andsubsequently connected him to the Surrealist movement, which he officially joined in 1937. He was in London for a short period in 1936 and worked with Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy. Matta'semployment with the architects of the Spanish Republican pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition (1937) exposed him to Picasso's Guernica (1937; Madrid, Prado) which greatly impressed him andinfluenced him in his work. At this time, he was introduced to the work of Marcel Duchamp, whom he met not long after. He later went to Scandinavia where he met the architect Alvar Aalto and then to Russiawhere he worked on housing design projects.
The summer of 1938 marks the evolution of Matta's work from drawing to painting. Roberto completed his first inscape oil paintings while in Brittany andworking with Gordon Onslow Ford. Forced to leave Europe with the outbreak of war, Matta arrived in New York in the Fall of 1938. In an article by Kathy Zimmerer of Latin American Masters, BeverlyHills, she describes Crucifiction  as: "evolving biomorphic forms that mutate and flow across the surface of the canvas. Matta's fluid realm of space cushions their journey. His luminous palette...