Herb and Dorothy share the wealth

A magnificent obsession. That’s the best way to describe Herb and Dorothy Vogel’s passion for art. The New York City couple is the subject of “Herb & Dorothy“, a documentary currently playing around the country. At the end of the Denver screening I attended, the audience clapped. What’s incredible about the Vogels is that the duo has amassed more than 4,000 pieces of contemporary art on a shoestring budget. Herb, now in his 80s, was a postal clerk, and Dorothy, in her 70s, was a librarian. They lived on her salary and spent his on art. By the way, they inhabit a one bedroom apartment where they appear to have no interest in furniture. The film shows a kitchen table, stacks of books, some turtles and a cat. And art is stuffed everywhere else.

The Vogels recently gave the entire collection to the National Gallery of Art, but the curators could only take 1,000 pieces. So, what’s happening with the rest? The amazing Vogels are giving 50 of their pieces to each of the 50 states. Out here in the West, their cache is headed to 13 museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Portland Art Museum, and the Seattle Art Museum. To see where the Vogels’ treasure trove is headed in your state, visit the Vogel 50×50 website. As a film critic in Denver says, now there’s a little Herb and Dorothy for all of us.

—Bonnie Gangelhoff

Previously: See a trailer for the movie in the post Art Collecting for the People

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