Founded in 1901 to 'bring great art to the people of the East End of London', the Whitechapel Gallery occupies a distinctive arts and crafts building designed by Charles Harrison Townsend.

It has no permanent collection, but a rolling programme of several exhibitions each year. The programme has ranged from showcasing art from Africa, India and Latin America to premiering emerging figures such as Picasso, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. The gallery holds a triennial open submission competition, which has recently been relaunched as The London Open.

Rachel Whiteread's beautiful commission for the facade of the building, Tree of Life, created with support from the Art Fund, was unveiled in June 2012. The artist's first permanent public commission in the UK, it features clusters of leaves, cast in bronze and plated in gold leaf, emblazoning the gallery's facade with shimmering foliage. The work was inspired by both the Tree of Life, an Arts and Crafts motif adorning the gallery's towers, and 'Hackney weed', the urban plants that grow on buildings in the area.

Whitechapel Gallery

Free to all

77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, Greater London, E1 7QX

020 7522 7888


Opening times

Tue – Sun, 11am – 6pm (Thu until 9pm).

Booking required

Closed 24 – 26 Dec

With a National Art Pass you get

50% off exhibitions

Ready to discover more? Choose your pass

Exhibitions nearby

Back to top