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Roberto Matta, La Question, 1957, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 × 116". © Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

Roberto Matta

Pace | 32 East 57th Street

Roberto Matta, La Question, 1957, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 × 116". © Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

“Matta in the 1950s and 1960s” was a curious assortment of Roberto Matta’s works, not all commensurate with each other: eleven drawings, all wax crayon and graphite; six oil paintings; and a figurative bronze sculpture. The sculpture, titled L’Impensable, 1959, portrays a human body stripped bare to metal bones, all spindly and surrealistic like some of Picasso’s earlier works. The drawings and paintings abruptly contrast. The former were full of luminous empty space, at times thinly toned with atmospheric color. A central field of fitful markings might form caricatures of human figures, sometimes copulating, sometimes painting, as they do in La Banale de Venise, 1954. There was also usually a sense of rapid, unstoppable, nervous movement—and in places the scenes were humorously simple, as in Et Sinon Allez Etudier, 1970, with its circus-act horses, and Posauitide, 1963, with

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