Born in Switzerland with dual US-German citizenship, Olivier Berggruen attended École Alsacienne in Paris and graduated in 1982. He received his BA (History of Art) from Brown University and his MA (History of Art) from Courtauld Institute in London.
He was previously Junior Specialist at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art in London, 1987-89; Director, Artemis Fine Art, London 1989-1992; and Partner, Berggruen & Zevi, London 1992-1998. As an art historian, he has written on Cézanne, Picasso, Paul Klee, Cy Twombly, Adriana Varejão, and many others, mostly for international museum exhibitions. He has taught or lectured at the National Gallery, London; Sciences Po, Paris; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; and the Frick Collection, New York. From 2001 to 2007, he served as Associate Curator at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. He has curated (or co-curated) international retrospectives of Francis Bacon, Henri Matisse, Yves Klein, and Pablo Picasso, for Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt as well as for the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. He organized an Ed Ruscha exhibition at Windsor (Vero Beach, Florida) in 2004 and a Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective at Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome in 2009. He also curated a retrospective of Picasso and the Ballets Russes at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome in 2017.
Olivier is a member of the advisory board of the Museum Berggruen in Berlin and of the Musée Picasso in Paris.
In 1998, Olivier married Desiree Welsing, a pediatric physician. They live in New York with their two children.