Museum Berggruen – Berlin
The Museum Berggruen in Berlin is one of the most important museums of modern art in Germany, particularly renowned for its collections of works by Picasso, Klee, Matisse, and Giacometti.
History and architecture
Opened in 1996, the museum is based on the personal collection of Heinz Berggruen (1914–2007) who, after leaving Germany in 1936, became a well-respected art dealer, collector, and curator and built up an exceptional selection of works by some of the most recognized artists of the 20th century.
The Museum Berggruen is housed in one of the twin neoclassical buildings opposite the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin (the other accommodating the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg museum).
The buildings were completed in 1859, after a design by architect Friedrich August Stüler, as barracks of the Gardes du Corps (the personal bodyguard of the king of Prussia).
In 2013, the museum was expanded, after a design by Berlin-based architectural practice Kuhn Malvezzi, through the incorporation of an adjacent edifice (known as the Kommandantenhaus), the creation of a new glazed corridor, connecting the two buildings, and of a sculpture garden, designed by landscape architects Planorama.
Museum Berggruen, the “Garde du Corps” building designed by Friedrich August Stüler, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Photo: Maximilian Meisse
Site plan with the “Garde du Corps” building on the left, the “Kommandantenhaus” on the right and the sculpture garden area on the rear; image courtesy of Kuhn Malvezzi
The cupola of the “Garde du Corps” building and a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti; photo: Rae Allen
Collection and permanent exhibition
The collection of the Museum Berggruen is mostly dedicated to the 20th century painting and sculpture and includes over 120 works by Pablo Picasso (spanning his entire career from 1897 to the early 1970s, the collection is one of the world’s largest and most complete selections of works by the Spanish artist), 70 pieces by Paul Klee, and remarkable works by Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Henri Laurens, and Paul Cézanne. The museum also holds an interesting collection of African sculptures and artifacts.
The Museum Berggruen also hosts temporary exhibitions, and creative workshops for children and schools.
The museum’s complex also includes a cafe, a museum shop, and – as mentioned earlier – a sculpture garden with works by acclaimed German contemporary artist Thomas Schütte.
Sculpture room, photo hc-krass © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen
Room with works by Henri Matisse, photo hc-krass © Succession H. Matisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Pablo Picasso, Still Life on a Piano, 1911, oil on canvas, Museum Berggruen; photo: Pomax
Pablo Picasso, Nude reclining, 1942, oil on canvas, Museum Berggruen; photo: Pomax
Pablo Picasso, Seated Harlequin, 1905, oil on canvas, Museum Berggruen; photo: Damian Entwistle
Room with sculptures by Alberto Giacometti; photo hc-krass © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen
The sculpture garden with the work “United Enemies“ (2011) by Thomas Schütte © Christo Libuda, Lichtschwärmer