Heinz Berggruen, a major collector of Picasso’s artworks and friend of the artist, died in France. He passed away last Friday at 93. Born in Berlin in 1914, Berggruen fled to the United States in 1936. In postwar Paris he became a prominent gallery owner known for his Picasso collection, but also specializing in the works of van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse and Klee, among others. In a gesture of reconciliation with the German people, Berggruen made large contributions from his collection to the Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 1996. Peter-Klaus Schuster, general director of Berlin’s State Museums, paid homage to Berggruen’s “spiritual presence and the gracefulness of his personality,” The New York Times reported. “In a unique gesture of reconciliation, which he consciously undertook, Heinz Berggruen returned to Berlin art that had been despised and driven out by Hitler’s Germany, just as he was,” Schuster said.
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