London Whitechapel Gallery History
Big white building, high black gates and no staircase – restored London Whiteсhapel Gallery has the same design as it used to be at the beginning of the 20th century, when it was founded. No stairs at the entrance – it was the idea of founders of the gallery to attract public’s attention. It’s so simple – just open the gate and enter inside without spending forces trying to go up a high staircase.
The gallery was opened in 1901 and since then it was lack of funds. 200, 000 of guests had paid their visit to gallery during the first week of its existence, but the donation was miserable and gallery had to struggle to survive.
It managed to survive due to its first director, Charles Aitken. It was he, who attracted trustees and they supported the gallery and gave it an opportunity to show to poor people from East London beautiful works of art of famous painters of that time era.
The aim of the founders of the gallery was to show poor people another world that was much larger than the world they had to live at. Thus the people from East London got acquainted with Chinese Art, Jewish Art and learnt a lot about culture of these nations. Even such famous and talented people as Winston Churchill and Bernard Show were seen at Whiteсhapel Gallery. They were involved to take part in “Shakespeare’s Memorial and Theatre Exhibition”.
The Gallery became more and more popular, it showed the works of such great people like Pollock and Picasso, but at the same time it remained extremely poor. During World War II it was bombed and many works of art were destroyed. The gallery had a difficult fate and finally was closed for reconstruction. In 2009 it was reopened. New exhibitions, new design and enthusiasm of its workers – these factors caused the great success of renewed gallery.
Thousands of people visit the gallery nowadays. They have an opportunity to see retrospective exhibitions of popular artists of the 20th century as well as the works of contemporaries. Anyone, who is eager to present his works of art in the gallery, is engaged, as the goal of new administration of the gallery is to open to the wide audience private and public collections.
Among the permanent exhibitions of the gallery it is interesting to see the retrospective of the exhibition “This is Tomorrow”. At first it was opened in the gallery in 1956. Then the workers of the museum found enthusiasts of different professions and divided them into 12 groups. The participants of each group were given a task to prepare some works called “Modern Art”. Their vision of modern art presented artists, designers, architects and people of other professions. The exhibition was of great success and now the visitors can see its retrospective.
The other thing, that is worth to see, if you pay your visit here, is “Guernica” of Picasso. At first this picture was shown in 1939 in the gallery. The popular artist painted it to express his anxiety about the war that was starting then. It was the first reaction of an artist, who understood the danger of Nazi just at the very beginning of their bombing, when the others didn’t attach any importance to it. It is the gem in the collection of the gallery.
Among retrospectives you can also see the works of Jackson Pollock.
But if you are interested in temporary exhibitions of the gallery, you can see the exhibition, called “A Utopian Stage”. It is devoted to the great art festival, that was so wide spread in the 20th century and such talented people as “Beatles”, composer John Cage and others took part in it. After Iranian revolution it was closed and now it is possible to see the materials from this festival at Whiteсhapel Gallery. You will watch the films, posters and photos as well as old TV programs, devoted to the festival. It is affordable till the 4th of October, 2015. So check the opening hours and come here!
The galley is closed on Monday. From Tuesday to Sunday its opening hours are from 11:oo till 18:00. There are days, when gallery is closed for repair works or it is rented. These planned closures must be checked in advance. Thus it won’t be accessible on the third of September and on some other days.
The admission here is free, although some exhibitions are paid. To have unlimited access to any exhibition, that is held at the gallery and besides to get discounts for café and shop here, you can get the annual membership. It costs £30.
How to Get to London Whitechapel Gallery
Address of the London Whiteсhapel Gallery:
77-82 Whitechapel High St
It is not hard to get here, as many modes of transport are affordable. Thus you can come by underground. Then get off at “Aldgate East Station”. The gallery is one minute walk from here.
If you go by bus, take numbers 25, 250, 254 and some others.
Cycling is another way to get here. You can hire a cycle at “Barday Cycle Hire” – it is the nearest one to the gallery.
If you come by car, you can stop at “Buckle Street Multistory Car Park”. The amount of free space is limited there, so you can book in advance to be sure!
London Whitechapel Gallery Shops and Restaurants
After a long day in the gallery, guests can come to the local café. It is called “Café Bar” and is opened from 10.00. Here it is possible to have a short snack and eat some cakes with a cup of strong aromatic coffee or famous English tea. Different kinds of pastries are also affordable here.
For the lovers to have the full lunch here, some main courses are also affordable. Thus you should try chargegrilled coriza – it tastes perfectly!
For people with dietary needs gluten free dishes are offered in the menu.
If the clients are interested in art and want to get some works of art to decorate their house – this option is active here too. Many modern talented artists sell their works just in the shop of the gallery. If you don’t plan a large purchase, but still want to get a small souvenir to remember about your visit – you can choose one of posters for exhibitions; get the publication of the gallery or the catalogues of the gallery. Many other gifts can be bought there too.
London Whiteсhapel Gallery has a long history and a great reputation. To visit it at least once is the must have for any person, who cares about his level of education and is always ready to increase it!