Last Friday, the newly refurbished Museum Berggruen was finally unveiled after the completion of extensive reconstruction work and the addition of a new wing in the adjoining building, known as the Kommandantenhaus, which originally served as the commandant's quarters for the Prussian military.
Numerous guests made their way to Charlottenburg in the west of Berlin to celebrate the event. The evening began with welcoming speeches from Bernd Neumann, Germany's Minister for Culture and Media, Hermann Parzinger, President of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Klaus Wowereit, the Mayor of Berlin, and Michael Eissenhauer, General Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Olivier Berggruen, the son of the late Heinz Berggruen, also spoke at the reception. As the speeches came to a close, expectations were running high as guests awaited their first glimpse of the interior and its artworks. Udo Kittelmann, Director of the Nationalgalerie, cut the ribbon in front of the doors of the Museum Berggruen to mark the official re-opening of this exceptional museum and its outstanding collection of modern art.
The museum continued its celebrations with two free Open Days on the 16 and 17 March, which gave the general public an opportunity to wander through the new exhibition rooms and admire the new wing on Spandauer Damm.
The collection is named after the man who created it-art dealer and collector Heinz Berggruen (1914-2007). Over a period of more than forty years, he acquired masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee and Alberto Giacometti. The first exhibition of the Berggruen Collection in the western Stüler-designed building in Charlottenburg was held in 1996 with the title "Picasso and His Time". It was later purchased by the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz for the Nationalgalerie in the year 2000. Further significant loans from the family have since been added to the collection and, today, the Museum Berggruen is one of the most important museums of modern art in Germany.