The Museum Berggruen with its impressive collection of works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee and Alberto Giacometti is one of the most important museums of modern art in Berlin. Together with the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg it is the main pillar of the Nationalgalerie in the district of Charlottenburg.
King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia commissioned architect Friedrich August Stüler to design the buildings that today house the Museum Berggruen and the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg. Stüler later went on to design the Alte Nationalgalerie. The buildings in Charlottenburg were constructed between 1851 and 1859 as part of a royal barracks. The twin buildings were designed in the Neoclassical style, and each crowned with a large cupola. They were conceived as a structural counterpoint to Schloss Charlottenburg on the opposite side of the road and flank the entrance to Schloßstraße.
The buildings were first converted in to museums by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in 1960 when the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities) moved into the western Stüler building - which today houses the Museum Berggruen - and in 1967 when the Ägyptisches Museum (Egyptian Museum) found a home in the building to the east.
As it became clear after German reunification that the Antikensammlung would eventually return to its original location on the Museumsinsel Berlin, the director general of the Staatliche Museen at the time, Wolf-Dieter Dube, offered the building in Charlottenburg to Heinz Berggruen as a place to house his art collection. Berggruen initially agreed to lend his collection to the Staatliche Museen in 1995 for ten years. The architectural firm Hilmer & Sattler und Albrecht were commissioned to renovate and refurbish the building to meet the needs of a modern museum. In September 1996, the Sammlung Berggruen was opened to the public and immediately became an important visitor attraction for the city. In the year 2000, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) managed to purchase the collection for the Nationalgalerie with funding from the German government and the state of Berlin. The building was renamed Museum Berggruen in 2004.
When Heinz Berggruen died in 2007, his family decided to lend further artworks that had been acquired by Heinz Berggruen to the museum and to continue to expand the collection with their own acquisitions. As more space was required to exhibit these works, the museum took over the neighbouring building on Spandauer Damm, which once served as the commandant's quarters for the Prussian military, as well as creating a sculpture garden in the courtyard. The architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi was awarded the contract to reconstruct the new wing and designed a glazed walkway to connect the two historical buildings. The Museum Berggruen opened its doors again in 2013.