The Berggruen Gallery will open the doors of its new location on January 13, 2017, across the street from the recently renovated SFMOMA. Though San Francisco was originally thought to be pretty backward when it comes to art galleries and collectors, the Berggruens have actually curated and sold art for many top names in the burgeoning San Francisco art scene, including investment banker Thomas Weisel, biotech innovator Anne Wojcicki, and Francisco Partners co-founder Sanford Robertson.
When John Berggruen first entertained the idea of starting his own gallery in San Francisco, his father, celebrated German art dealer Heinz Berggruen, told him he was out of his mind. “What he really meant was…San Francisco was the end of the world in terms of a collector base,” Berggruen recalled in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Nevertheless, Berggruen went on to build his small walk-up space selling prints on Grant Avenue to a completely renovated, three-story, 10,000-square-foot space on Hawthorne Street, just across the way from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
These days, that area has become a burgeoning hot spot for art in San Francisco. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Jewish Museum are both located nearby, and big name American art dealer Larry Gagosian opened a gallery right next door to Berggruens’ new location.
Over the course of their career, Berggruen and his wife Gretchen have put on more than 760 shows. Though they are both in their mid-70s, neither are looking to retire any time soon.
Their first show in the new location is called “The Human Form.” It will feature work starting from the early 20th century and moving through to contemporary times with artists including Henri Matisse, Lucian Freud, and George Condo. It will run through March 4.
The Berggruens plan to reserve two floors of the new space for exhibitions and one for projects and events.
“The opening of our new gallery represents the next phase in our role of being a catalyst within the Bay Area and the California arts ecology,” said Berggruen. “Our gallery will offer artists a larger and more fluid space in which to exhibit their work, enhancing our role in bringing innovative exhibitions and introducing new artists to San Francisco. Being at the center of the arts district and adjacent to SFMOMA will enable us to foster meaningful interplay between the art we and our neighbors present.”