Roberto Matta was one of Chile's best-known painters and a seminal figure in 20th century abstract expressionist and surrealist art. Born in Santiago, he studied architecture and interior design. In the 1930's he traveled to Paris, where he studied with Le Corbusier and met Andre' Breton. He became associated with the Surrealist movement and moved from drawing to oil painting. Matta emigrated to the United States in 1938, along with several important younger surrealist artists and during his time in New York he influenced and worked with such artists as Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock. He left the United States in 1948 and would live and work in both Europe and South America, continuing to paint throughout his life and became known for epic surreal canvases, combining the semi-abstract and the political.