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Francisco Matto



b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay

A founding member of the Taller Torres-García, Matto studied painting as a child before meeting Joaquín Torres-García, the atelier's founder in 1939.  Following this encounter and encouraged by the creative environment at the Taller, Matto's artistic production shifted from his early Surrealist-influenced work to paintings and sculptures with markedly orthogonal compositions; these works were often executed on humble material supports such as cardboard and found wood pieces. 

At the age of 21, Matto traveled to Tierra del Fuego and acquired the first Pre-Columbian pieces of what was to become a major collection and an important influence on his art.  In 1962, Matto opened his collection of Amerindian art to the public. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art housed ceramics, textiles and sculpture from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. 

The Central Bank of Uruguay commissioned Matto to design a silver coin for the F.A.O. (United Nations Organization for Agriculture and Food).  It was in circulation in 1969 and won the first prize from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Geldgeschichte, an international numismatic association based in Frankfurt, Germany.

In 1982, Matto was invited to participate in the First International Meeting for Open Air Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay. He made a U shaped form sculpture in cement placed next to the beach.

His recent exhibitions include "Francisco Matto: Exposição Monográfica," 6a Bienal do Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2007; "Francisco Matto: The Modern and Mythic," The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, 2009; “Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection," The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas, 2012-2013.  His work has also been included in group exhibitions in Paris, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Moscow, Tokyo, New York, and throughout Latin America.  


Please click for Chronology and CV


El misterio de la forma

El misterio de la forma

Gallery exhibition catalogue with essay by Alicia Haber, Illustrated chronology by Cecilia de Torres, 75 color plates, Spanish with English text, 206 pages

Published by Galería Oscar Prato, Montevideo

$ 50.00 + postage

Poesias y Pinturas 1935-1945

Poesias y Pinturas 1935-1945

A study of Matto’s Matisse inspired paintings of the 1930s & 40s, before he joined the Taller Torres-García; and the relationship between the artist’s poetry and his painting

Essays by Lilian Uribe and Cecilia de Torres; In Spanish and English; 30 color and 40 black and white reproductions, 102 pages, 10¼ x 8½ in.

Published by Galería Oscar Prato, Montevideo & Cecilia de Torres, Ltd., New York

$ 30.00 + postage