Berggruen, Heinz

BORN 6 Jan 1914, Berlin: Wilmersdorf - DIED 23 Feb 2007, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Waldfriedhof Dahlem, Hüttenweg 47, Steglitz-Zehlendorf (Feld 014-225,226 (Ehrengrab))

Heinz Berggruen was the son of Ludwig Berggruen, a Jewish businessman who ran an office supply business. His mother was Antonie Zadek. He studied at the University in Berlin and graduated in 1932. He continued his studies in Grenoble and Toulouse. He wrote articles for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that were submitted by a colleague to mislead the nazis. In 1936 he fled for Germany for the USA where he studied German Literature at the University of Berkeley, California. He married Lillian Zellerbach in 1939 They had two children, John and Helen, but the marriage ended in a divorce in 1945. In 1939 he worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on an exhibition about Diego rivera and in 1940 in New York he had a short love affair with Frida Kahlo.

After the war he returned to Europe in the service of the US Army. In Paris he worked for the fine arts division of Unesco under Grace Morley. He opened a bookshop on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris where he sold books and lithographs. He met Tristan Tzara and Pablo Picasso, for whom he became an important art dealer. In 1960 he married the actress Bettina Moissi, who was a daughter of the famous actor Alexander Moissi. With her he had two further children, Oliver and Nicolas. From 1980 he fully concentrated on art collecting and art dealing. In 1988 he gave 90 works by Klee to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His collection was exhibited in Geneva and London.

In 1997 a collection of his works was opened to the public in Berlin opposite the Charlottenburg Palace and he lived in a nearby apartment that was provided to him by the City of Berlin. In 2000 he sold his collection that included 85 works by Picasso to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for about a quarter of the estimated value of EUR 750 million. He died in 2007 in Paris.

Related persons
• knew Matisse, Henri
• met Picasso, Paulo


The grave of Heinz Berggruen at Waldfriedhof Dahlem, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (18 Aug 2010)


Heinz Berggruen - Wikipedia

Berghaus, Ruth

Published: 02 Mar 2022
Last update: 03 Mar 2022