Mighty Minimalist Herbert Vogel Dies

Dorothy and Herbert Vogel look at a drawing by Richard Tuttle from their collection in the Print Study Room, National Gallery of Art, 1992. Photo by Lorene Emerson, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives.
Dorothy and Herbert Vogel look at a drawing by Richard Tuttle from their collection in the Print Study Room, National Gallery of Art, 1992.
Photo by Lorene Emerson, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives.

If you think you can’t afford to collect art, consider the story of Herbert Vogel. Vogel was an art collector who with his wife Dorothy amassed more than 5,000 works, mostly drawings, on a civil service income. Vogel was the son of a Russian Jewish garment worker, never finished high school and worked as a clerk for the United States Postal Service until retiring in 1980. His wife Dorothy worked as a librarian. The Vogels kept their collection of minimalist work in their one-bedroom New York apartment, then in 1992 donated it to the National Gallery of Art. Works from the collection have appeared in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, including two major exhibitions organized by the National Gallery that were selected solely from their collection. In late 2008, they launched The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, donating 2,500 works to 50 institutions across 50 states and also that year an award-winning documentary about their story, Herb and Dorothy, was released. Vogel died recently of natural causes at the age of 89.

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