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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

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11 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object

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Accession Number


Roberto Matta

Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
color etching and aquatint on paper

24 15/16 in x 17 1/2 in (63.34 cm x 44.45 cm);28 3/16 in x 22 3/16 in (71.6 cm x 56.36 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Matta’s skillful gradation of color, manipulation of the aquatint grain, and control of the biting of the plate produce luminous, almost phosphorescent, tonal passages suggesting a cosmic realm of inchoate matter and unfathomable depths. The whirling lines give the impression of motion and energy. Some of the darker lines were bitten so deeply in the etching process that they embossed the sheet, as is especially noticeable on the verso of the print.
This print was produced in the Atelier Georges Visat, Paris.
Label copy from exhibition "Dreamscapes: The Surrealist Impulse," August 22 - October 25, 1998

Subject matter
In this print, the Chilean artist presented a kind of Surrealist celestial scene but with a political slant. Matta was engaged in Latin American politics, for example supporting the Cuban revolutionaries. During the 1960s, he even traveled to the newly-Communist Cuba. In a play on words in the title, Matta combined references to both the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and the Cold War space race: literally "Castro" plus "astronaut." Castro the astronaut is depicted in a surrealist spacescape. After meeting Salvador Dali and Andre Breton in Paris in the 1930s, Matta joined the Surrealist movement and his work reflected the Freudian subconscious mind.

Physical Description
In this print, there is a figure that is formed in the upper right with thick black lines. It floats above abstract circular line designs. There is a blue and purple background, with areas of light behind the figure, darker areas below the figure. The print is signed (l.r.) and numbered (l.l.) "5/100" in pencil.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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Abstract (fine arts style)
etching (printing process)
modern and contemporary art

& Author Notes

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