If you have not seen “Herb and Dorothy,” please do. It is a wonderful story about “ordinary” people being extraordinary. It will inspire you to surround yourself with beauty and to be passionate about what inspires you and to not be discouraged.
Herbert Vogel (born 1922) and Dorothy Vogel (born 1935) are American art collectors. Herbert Vogel was the son of a Russian Jewish garment worker from Harlem. He never finished high school and worked as a clerk for the United States Postal Service until retiring in 1980. Dorothy Faye Hoffman was the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish stationery merchant from Elmira, New York. She holds a masters degree and worked as a librarian in the Brooklyn Public Library. Herbert and Dorothy married in 1962 in Elmira, New York. Early in their marriage, they both took painting classes at New York University and rented a studio at Union Square, but gave up painting in favor of collecting.
Together they built a large and impressive contemporary art collection on their modest incomes. Dorothy’s income covered their living expenses and they used Herb’s income to buy art. Though their focus is conceptual art and minimalist art, the collection also includes noteworthy post-minimalist work. They amassed a collection of over 4,782 works, which they kept in their one-bedroom rent-controlled New York City apartment. In 1992, they decided to transfer the entire collection to the National Gallery of Art. More recently, in late 2008, they launched The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States along with the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The program donated 2,500 works to 50 institutions across 50 states and was accompanied by a book with the same name. In 2008, an award-winning documentary about their story, Herb and Dorothy, was released.
- David Remnick: Postscript: Nora Ephron. (newyorker.com)