Herb and Dorothy
August 7, 2012 3:20 PM   Subscribe

On July 22, 2012, Herb Vogel passed away. Herb worked his entire life for the US Postal Service, while his wife Dorothy worked for the Brooklyn Public Library. In spite of their humble backgrounds, the couple were renowned in art circles for amassing over the course of decades a deeply personal collection of over 2500 pieces of 20th C. contemporary American art, a collection so vast that it could not be housed in the National Gallery of Art. A traveling exhibition entitled Fifty Works in Fifty States was set up to share the Vogel's treasures with the American public in museums across the country, as well as online. The wonderful story of the deep love that the Vogels shared for each other and their passion for art, beauty and human creativity was told in the eponymous documentary Herb and Dorothy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (20 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
How sad - I recall a 60 minutes piece about him, years ago. Seemed like a remarkable guy.
posted by thelonius at 3:22 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Amazing people and an amazing documentary. Not sure if those of you outside Canada can view this, but here's the documentary in its entirety on TVO's site. Actually, this Chinese site also seems to have a working copy, but I have no idea about the site itself...
posted by gman at 3:40 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

The Vogel's collection was actually around 4000 pieces, mainly drawings. The National Gallery can store that much, but there's no way to ensure exhibition access to that many pieces. And as they often bought works from artists who were just beginning their careers, the artists in turn gave them pieces for special occasions--birthday, anniversary, etc.. They lived on her salary and used his for collecting, which says more about what it was like to live in NYC before the real estate boom (rent controlled apartment also helped.)
posted by Ideefixe at 3:44 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

This documentary is avaiable on Netflix instant streaming.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 3:49 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's the Netflix link. I loved this film, and this couple, and what they seem to represent about finding richness (but not riches) in life.
posted by argonauta at 3:52 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks--among the cynicism, skepticism, doubt and confusion I all to often find myself this is refreshing and heartening. Thanks Again
posted by rmhsinc at 4:00 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

We were just talking about the Vogels this weekend. I still think that's an amazing way to live your life. And: previously.
posted by maudlin at 4:01 PM on August 7, 2012

Such wonderful people!
posted by R. Mutt at 4:33 PM on August 7, 2012

Fascinating story. I’d heard of them before, but I just watched the documentary on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and looked them up afterward, as I often do, only to see that he had died the week before. I gotta think that was a guy who had few regrets, or at least lived the life he wanted.
posted by bongo_x at 4:33 PM on August 7, 2012

Poor Dorothy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:05 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by josephtate at 5:36 PM on August 7, 2012

The documentary is fabulous. What was really impressive was their making sure that the art was shared with the American public. They felt that since they both worked, more or less, for the government (he for the post office, she for the NYC city school system), and that the collection was paid for by the wages they earned from the people, that they should share the collection with the people who helped pay for it. Very cool.
posted by jonathanhughes at 5:38 PM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]

posted by quazichimp at 5:55 PM on August 7, 2012

I loved the movie about them. Thank you, Herb Vogel, for being an inspiration.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:09 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by infini at 12:50 AM on August 8, 2012


Interested Austinites can see the Fifty Works exhibit until August 12th.
posted by hanoixan at 5:37 AM on August 8, 2012

This is a story which says a great deal about the ways in which art enriches life. A good way to remember and emulate these lovely people is to buy original artwork, to support artists and bring things into your own world which speak to you. In this way the Vogel's energy is kept very much alive.

posted by kinnakeet at 8:48 AM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just watched all of the documentary on netflix, I was really into the Sol LeWitt pieces, especially after seeing his stuff at MASS MoCA recently.

May the two of them become art.
posted by sch at 10:03 AM on August 8, 2012

posted by intermod at 7:36 PM on August 8, 2012

I try and live somewhat by their philosophy. I have rejigged my entertainment budget so that most of it goes to working artists.
Oddly enough, I haven't actually got around to watching the film about them yet.

Yes I have run out of space.
posted by Theta States at 10:34 PM on August 10, 2012

« Older Reaching bottom at the top of the world   |   Fistful of Rupees Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments