Art collector Herbert Vogel died on Sunday of natural causes. He was 89.
A few years back, I saw the documentary Herb & Dorothy on PBS. Vogel along with his wife Dorothy accumulated one of the largest collections of conceptual and minimalist art in the world despite their modest means. Herb was an employee of the USPS while Dorothy was employed at the Brooklyn Public Library. The Vogels became early champions of Christo and Jeanne Claude. On one occasion, the Vogels procured a collage in exchange for cat-sitting.
In 1992, the Vogels donated their collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Until then their collection had been stored in their one bedroom, rent controlled apartment in Brooklyn. It took five tractor trailer trucks to clear their apartment of the collection.
In 2008, the National Gallery began disseminating the Vogel collection around the country in a program called Fifty Works for Fifty States.
Herb Vogel could have easily a millionaire many times over. But for him and Dorothy, it was never about the money. It was just a love and passion for visual art.
The Vogels were married for fifty years.
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