Visit: Casa Museo La Chascona, Fernando Maquez de la Plata 0192, Santiago Chile
Many of Neruda’s friends were participants of the guarded secret of “La Chascona”. Among them the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, who painted a portrait of Matilde with two heads. If you pay attention to her hair, you could see to appear the diffused profile of Neruda, the lover who was still remained hidden. This is one of the pieces shown in the house – museum today.
In February 1955, Neruda was separated from Delia del Carril and he moved in to “La Chascona”. The house had kept growing with the addition of a kitchen and a dining room. Afterwards a bar and a library were built. The architect Carlos Martner was in charge of the latest additions in 1958. For then Rodriguez Arias had returned to Europe.
Martner have commented the singularity with which Neruda constructed his houses. He didn’t do it accordingly to the conventional procedures, starting with the design of function, space and structural plans: “In one occasion he had a window, a picture and an armchair he liked a lot, and he wanted to create a corner were they were included” – then, the poet conditioned the space to the object, the whole to the part.
At “La Chascona” is fulfilled what Miguel Rojas Mix observed when he made note that Neruda modeled his spaces far from the bourgeoisie pleasure: More than the ostentatious fronts, he had interest in the intimacy of the interior ambient.
“La Chascona” Had its death and resurrection. On September 23rd, 1973, days after the military coup which overthrow President Salvador Allende, Neruda died at the Santa Maria Clinic of Santiago. “La Chascona had been object of vandalism acts. The ditch so loved by the poet was obstructed and the house was flooded, it had to be placed some wood slabs over the mud in order to make possible the entrance of his remains, since Matilde Urrutia insisted to have his funeral in there. She together with a few friends spent that night in the broken windows living room.
Matilde made a big effort to fix the damages of the house she had built with Neruda, and she continued living in it until her death in 1985.