History

History of the Whitechapel Gallery

+ Share

Founded in 1901 to 'bring great art to the people of the East End of London', the Whitechapel Art Gallery occupies a distinctive arts and crafts building designed by Charles Harrison Townsend. Its first exhibition, which included the Pre-Raphaelites, Constable, Hogarth and Rubens, attracted 206,000 local people.

The programme has ranged from showcasing art from Africa, India and Latin America to premiering solo emerging figures such as Picasso, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Through exhibitions such as the Whitechapel Open, the gallery has promoted artists who live and work in the East End of London.

View a full list of exhibitions from 1901-1950,
1950-Present and read about our history of firsts.