National and global recognition

Chilean artists have a presence on the international circuit, earning awards, grants and exhibitions in major museums and biennial shows.


In 1957 Roberto Matta, who was perhaps the last of the surrealists and was also heavily influenced by the US arts environment of the 1940s and 50s, presented a retrospective of his work in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The work of Catalina Parra, the daughter of Nicanor and Violeta’s niece, was shown in the MoMA in 1981 after she received the Guggenheim grant. National Arts Prize winner Gonzalo Díaz also received both distinctions, in addition to exhibiting his work in the George Pompidou Center in Paris.

For his part, Enrique Zañartu has shown his work in the Guggenheim Museum and Guillermo Nuñez has done so in the Museum of Contemporary Latin American Art in the United States. Others who have received the Guggenheim grant include Arturo Duclos, Mario Toral, Alberto Pérez and Juan Downey, to name a few. Gonzalo Díaz’s training initially took place at the University of Chile School of Fine Arts, with professors like José Balmes and Rodolfo Opazo, both of whom have had a distinguished presence in the Sao Paulo Biennial, for example. Others who have played a significant part in the same Biennial include Camilo Mori, Juan Egenau, Matilde Pérez and Lily Garafulic, among others.

Gonzalo Díaz’s esthetics are related to the aforementioned advance guard scene and to Eugenio Dittborn, Juan Domingo Dávila and Alfredo Jaar, artists who have earned themselves solid prestige. These are names that, together with those of Juan Downey and Arturo Duclos, cannot fail to be present in any attempt to get to know contemporary Chilean plastic art.

Chilean painting has also been represented by exiled artists around the world, who lived and created abroad because of the 1973 military coup, and motivated the book The Graphic Memory of Chilean Exile 1973-1989.