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National Gallery wins Wohl Arts Competition award

Issued January 2015

Some of the most visited and popular rooms in the National Gallery are to undergo a major renovation, thanks to a grant award from the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation.

The National Gallery is the joint winner* of the Wohl Arts Competition, a highly competitive award from the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation for a major capital landmark project in the arts in the UK. The competition is taking place to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the philanthropy of the late Maurice and Vivienne Wohl.

The National Gallery share of the £5 million grant will facilitate vital restoration works in the 19th-century and Impressionist galleries (Rooms 41 to 46), part of the original 1830s Wilkins building.

The project will involve extensive works to renew and replace the roofs of this suite of galleries, in order to continue to safeguard the internationally important collection of works by artists including Monet, Renoir, Seurat, Degas, Cézanne and Van Gogh which are on display there.

New state-of-the art glazed roof panels will be installed, and significant improvements made to the roof structure and to the environmental conditions and lighting of the galleries. The building works will ensure a safe and appropriate environment to preserve the collection, enhance thermal efficiency, and provide optimum natural lighting for the public to view and enjoy these great works of art.

In recognition of this prestigious award, Rooms 41 to 46 will be renamed 'The Wohl Galleries' in memory of Maurice Wohl and his wife, Vivienne, who were long-term supporters of the National Gallery.  

Professor David Latchman CBE, Maurice Wohl’s nephew and Master of Birkbeck, University of London is Chair of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation. Commenting on the award he said:

“The Jewish sage Hillel taught us not to separate ourselves from our community. These grants not only reflect Maurice and Vivienne’s commitment to the communities of arts and medical science, but also to their shared love for the UK and for Israel. They also illustrate how creativity and discovery in the arts and sciences must be sustained and nourished.”

National Gallery Director Dr Nicholas Penny said:

“The National Gallery greatly valued the generous support of Maurice and Vivienne Wohl during their lifetimes, and the affection in which they held the Gallery. We are proud that one of the Gallery’s most prominent galleries is named ‘The Wohl Room’, in recognition of their previous support. We are delighted that The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation has continued this historic association through the Wohl Legacy Award, which will support a major renovation of Rooms 41 to 46, among the most visited spaces in the Gallery. We will be honoured to name these rooms The Wohl Galleries to commemorate Maurice and Vivienne Wohl and their outstanding contribution to the National Gallery.”

The renovation work is due to get underway shortly and complete in early 2017.


*With the Royal Academy

The Wohl Legacy is a group of three charitable foundations established by the late Maurice and Vivienne Wohl. Today, their legacy of support continues for medical research, welfare and education in the UK, Israel, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and other Jewish populations in need around the world. The three foundations build on, and reflect, the priorities established by the Wohls during their lifetime. Each foundation is chaired separately. In the UK, the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation is chaired by Maurice’s nephew, Professor David Latchman CBE. More at

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