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Image Rights
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Copyright Matta / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


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Cat for Piano
Matta (Roberto Antonio Sebastián Matta Echaurren)
unframed 48.75 × 59 × 1.25 inches
oil on canvas
Not on view

Object Details

Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
Physical Description
stylized depiction of an earless striped cat surrounded by abstract forms
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Winston, 1977

object label Matta (Roberto Antonio Sebastian Matta Echaurren), Cat for Piano (1951) Walker Art Center, 1998

“The point of the verb ‘to see’ is not only to see with your eyes, it’s to see with your mind.”–Matta

Matta was a leading member of the original Surrealist circle, a group of artists who, in the 1920s and 1930s, drew their imagery from dreams and the subconscious mind. Matta’s paintings, with their vaporous, biomorphic forms, directly influenced the early works of a number of American painters, including Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock.

In Cat for Piano Matta painted a dreamlike image of an excited feline and a metamorphosing, embryonic mass. This animated, electrically charged painting is highlighted by fantastical images of germinating plant life and explosive color accents. The palette Matta employs in this painting shows the influence of an extended stay in Mexico in the 1940s, where he studied the effects of sunlight on the landscape.

Label text for Matta (Roberto Antonio Sebastian Matta Echaurren), Cat for Piano (1951), from the exhibition Selections from the Permanent Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, December 8, 1996 to April 4, 1999.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center