Heinz Berggruen opened his first gallery in 1947 in Paris on the Place Dauphin. Two years later he moved his space to the left bank, rue de l'Université 70, from which he proceeded to promote contemporary art for over thirty years. Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Paul Klee were the gallery’s imortant artists. Picasso gave Berggruen the privilege of being the exclusive dealer of a significant portion of his prints; the gallerist was also the first to exhibit the late works of Matisse. In 1971 Berggruen received the French Legion of Honor for his services to modern art and was named Commandeur in 2000.
Today a nameplate still recalls the decades when the narrow street was host to changing exhibitions and vernissages. In 1980 Heinz Berggruen handed the gallery’s reins to his successor in order to focus solely on the expansion of his art collection.