In 2009 the Spencer received a gift from the collection of two extraordinary patrons. Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, New Yorkers of modest means, decided to begin collecting the work of emerging artists shortly after their marriage in 1962. Through their patronage, the Vogels encouraged and supported over 177 remarkable artists, 25 of whom are represented in their gift of 50 works to the Spencer Museum. The Vogel Network celebrates the addition of the Vogel donation to the Spencer collection.
These 50 works range from studies and sketches to highly finished works of art. As a group, they demonstrate the Vogel’s confidence to act instinctively, acquiring works that provoked their mind’s eye, whether by established or—more frequently—emerging artists. Through the process of collecting, the Vogels wove a rich web of connections with a diverse group of artists, many of whom had their own interactions with one another. This network of artistic and personal connections, with Herb and Dorothy at its center, has become our way of visualizing the significance of the Vogel Collection.
The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection came to the Spencer through the auspices of the National Gallery of Art, which has collaborated with the Vogels since the early 1990s. All exhibited works share a common acknowledgment:
The Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
This exhibition was organized by a team of curators and Museum interns: Susan Earle, Denise Giannino, Stephen Goddard, Chassica Kirchhoff, Kate Meyer, Meredith Moore, and Ellen Raimond.
After thirty years of meticulous collecting and buying, the Vogels managed to accumulate over 2,000 pieces, filling every corner of their tiny one bedroom apartment. "Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment," recalls Dorothy. In 1992, the Vogels decided to move their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The vast majority of their collection was given as a gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. Still, the Vogels never sold a single piece. Today Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment in New York with 19 turtles, lots of fish, and one cat. They'e refilled it with piles of new art they'e acquired.
HERB & DOROTHY is directed by first time filmmaker Megumi Sasaki. The film received the Golden Starfish Award for the Best Documentary Film and Audience Award from the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also received Audience Awards from the 2008 SILVERDOCS Film Festival and the 2009 Philadelphia Cinefest. Palm Springs International Film Festival named HERB & DOROTHY one of their "Best of Fest" films in 2009.