Roberta González at the Centre Pompidou (2 April 2024 to 9 March 2025)

For the first time, the Pompidou Center is showcasing an ensemble of work by Roberta González (1909-1976), an artist active on the Parisian and international scene starting in the 1930s. From April 2, 2024 through March 9, 2025, an ensemble of her paintings, drawings, illustrated books, objets d’art and archives will be on display, following a donation of artwork from the artist’s estate. The donation enriches the preexisting collection of her work acquired during the artist’s lifetime.

Roberta González’s work is focused on the female figure, represented through various identities and styles.  Whether they are naturalistic or avant-gardist, painted or drawn, distressed or stoic, the common thread among her country women, mothers and portraits is their piercing gaze, tinted with nostalgia, a touch of defiance, and determination.  Their gazes scrutinize, question and analyze, just like the artist herself, as she sought out her own artistic path in a world turned upside down by war and personal loss.

The artwork on display dates from 1935-1954, a period that is a turning point for the artist.  Her distressed, distorted female figures, portrayed in twisted postures and with fragmented volumes, are her response to the conflict that erupts in Spain, the González family’s homeland, before escalating into World War II.

L’heure exacte, 1950, huile sur panneau, 64,5 x 91,3 cm
Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Don Succession González, 2023, AM 2023-453

After the war, Roberta González seeks to carve out her place on the Parisian art scene where everything had changed.  She manages to free herself from the shadow of war and to develop a unique personal style, based on the synergy of contrasts: light/dark, abstraction/figuration, movement/stillness, melancholy/joy.  This duality is a reflection of the artist’s own identities: French and Spanish, artist and promoter of her father’s work, playful but sensitive. 

This ensemble will be enriched with documents from the artist’s personal archives (photographs, childhood drawings, her unpublished diary).  

To capture the creative community of which Roberta González formed part, a handful of works by her father, Julio González, and first husband, Hans Hartung, will also be presented.