Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Olivier Berggruen

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Siblings  Nicolas Berggruen
Nephew  Alexander Berggruen
Grandparent  Aleksandër Moisiu
Olivier Berggruen Picasso Matisse Klee Berggruen Museum Expands WSJ

Parents  Heinz Berggruen, Bettina Moissi
Books  The Writing of Art, The Klee Universe, Ed Ruscha: The Drawn Word, Picasso Black and White
Similar  Nicolas Berggruen, Heinz Berggruen, Bettina Moissi, Paul Klee

Olivier Berggruen (born 14 September 1963) is a German-American art historian and curator, described by the Wall Street Journal as playing "a pivotal role in the art world."


Early life

Born in Winterthur, Switzerland, Berggruen is the son of noted German art collector Heinz Berggruen and actress Bettina Moissi. He graduated from the College of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and completed his graduate studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London, where he studied with Anita Brookner, who was his advisor.


He briefly worked at the auction house Sotheby's in London, before serving as curator at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. He has lectured at numerous institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University, The National Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C., the 92nd Street Y, and the Paris Institute of Political Studies. He currently serves as chairman of the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was the recipient of the 2009 Berliner Zeitung Media Award.

Berggruen has curated a number of international exhibitions, such as a retrospective of Yves Klein at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and one of Beatrice Caracciolo at the French Academy in Rome. He is a contributor to the Huffington Post, for which he writes articles on art, literature, and philosophy. Additionally, he has written extensively on Picasso, Yves Klein, and Henri Matisse, among others, for organizations including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, publications such as Artforum and The Print Quarterly, and for Gagosian Gallery, for which he contributed with University of Cambridge professor Mary Jacobus. His first book, The Writing of Art, is a series of essays, which explores aesthetics through the lens of twentieth-century art, tracing movements and trends such as the ontological discontinuity of modernism in Picasso's ballets. He is currently working on two book projects, including a history of collecting and a study of Wittgenstein's aesthetics, and will be lecturing at the Courtauld Institute in the 2016-17 academic year.

Personal life

Berggruen lives in New York City with his wife, Desiree, whom he met while both were studying at Brown. She is a doctor, and together they have two children. His brother is billionaire and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen. He serves on various committees at institutions across the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, Picasso Museum in Paris, Courtauld Institute, Museum Berggruen, and Mariinsky Ballet.

Selected publications

  • The Writing of Art, Pushkin Press, 2012.
  • "The Fragmented Self" in Dieter Buchart ed., Jean-Michel Baquiat: Now's the Time, Prestel, 2015.
  • "The Theater as Metaphor" in Olivier Berggruen and Max Hollein eds., Picasso and the Theater, Hantje Cantz, 2007.
  • Editor (with Max Holbein), Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors: Masterpieces from the Late Years, Prestel, 2006.
  • “Ed Ruscha: Ribbon of Words” in Ed Ruscha: The Drawn Word, Edited with Essay, Windsor Press (2004), pp. 1 - 7
  • “The Prints of Jean-Michel Basquiat”, Print Quarterly, XXVI (2009): pp. 28 - 38
  • “The Future of Painting” in Portraits Lost in Space: George Condo, Pace Wildenstein, New York (1999), pp. 30 - 34
  • “The Realm of Pure Sensations” in Playing With Form: Neoconcrete Art From Brazil, Edited with Essay, Dickinson New York (2011), pp. 19 - 27
  • “Picasso & Bacon: Painting the Other Self” in Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art, Edited by Wilfried Seipel, Barbara Steffen, Christoph Vitali, Skira Editore S.p.A. (2003), pp.71 - 83
  • “The Summons to Living Things to Return Home” in Cy Twombly: Bacchus, Gagosian Gallery, 2005, pp. 5 -15
  • “The Landscape of the Mind” in Agnes Martin, Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG Zurich (2008)
  • References

    Olivier Berggruen Wikipedia