The museum building was designed in 1912 by architect K. T. Babykin. The first exhibition of the newly formed Sverdlovsk Art Gallery opened here in 1936.
Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most significant art museums in the Urals. The history of its collection dates back to last quarter of the 19th century and is connected to Ural Society of Natural History (UOLE). UOLE played an important role in forming collections of the Local History Museum, the art department of which was later reorganized into Sverdlovsk Art Gallery (since 1988 – Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts). The collection was later enriched with transfers from State Hermitage, Tretyakov Gallery, State Museum of Fine Arts named after Pushkin, as well as donations from private collections and national purchase commissions.
The EMFA complex includes several buildings and departments. The museum building on Vainera Street exhibits the collection of the 1910-1920s Russian avant-garde, Russian modern and contemporary art, as well as temporary expositions.
During the Great Patriotic War the unique art treasures of State Hermitage evacuated from Leningrad were preserved in this building.