The Whitney

Art & Culture | History

Contemporary American art with a focus on works by living artists

The Whitney abstract art

About The Whitney

 & why it made the Carpe City list

  • At the beginning of the twentieth century, sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney noticed that American artists with new ideas had trouble exhibiting or selling their work.
  • In 1914, Mrs. Whitney established the “Whitney Studio” in Greenwich Village, where she presented exhibitions by living American artists whose work had been disregarded by traditional academies. By 1929, she had assembled a collection of more than 500 pieces.
  • Whitney offered her collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it was declined. So, she set up her own institution with a specific mandate: to focus exclusively on the art and artists of the United States.
  • “The Whitney Museum of American Art” was founded in 1930 and opened in 1931 at its original location. After moves in 1954 and 1963, The Whitney’s current building opened on May 1, 2015, with vastly increased exhibition and programming space.
  • Innovation has been a hallmark of The Whitney since its beginnings. They were the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a Video artist. And they consistently purchase works within the year they were created. This is often well before the artists who created them become broadly recognized.
  • They have also taken exhibitions beyond their walls. They opened free-of-charge, corporate-sponsored branch museums in surrounding areas. These operated with their own staff, serving as training grounds for curators. They also allowed the public more access to the collection and met the needs of some experimental artists. The last of the branches closed in 2008.
  • Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was regarded as the leading patron of American art from 1907 until she died in 1942.

By: Laureen Mocsari

New York City Tours

Great Places Near The Whitney

The Highline steps
Art & Culture

The High Line

A public "eyesore" turned "eyeful"

820 Washington St, New York, NY 10014
High Street on Hudson salmon bagel nyc dining

High Street on Hudson

Most notable for brunch, this all-day restaurant serves elevated American farm-to-table fare

637 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Orient Express exterior greenwich village

Orient Express

Intimate and swanky cocktail bar modeled after a vintage train dining car

325 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014
Anfora dip greenwich village restaurant


A Top Stop for Wine in the West Village

34 8th Ave, New York, NY 10014
Corner Bistro interior greenwich village restaurant

Corner Bistro

A Village institution with great burger and hip local bar vibe

331 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
Diane Arbus home greenwich village history
Art & Culture

Diane Arbus

Landmarked Former Home of Famed Photographer

131 Charles Street, New York, NY 10014
don angie lasagna greenwich village

Don Angie

Italian-American Hotspot with a Creative Menu that Consistently Delivers.

103 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014
Katana Kitten Drink greenwich village restaurant

Katana Kitten

Hip space for creative cocktails with a Japanese flair

531 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Sex and the City Stoop greenwich village pop culture
Art & Culture

Sex and the City Stoop

Steps Made Famous by Carrie Bradshaw

66 Perry St, New York, NY 10014

More Great Walking Tours


Sign up to our monthly e-mail about the latest and greatest places for food, wine art and history

Skip to content