The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Ohio
For Release: June 2011
CONTACT: Elizabeth M. Wilson, Director of Marketing Communication
Akron, Ohio, May 12, 2011 —The Akron Art Museum has been very fortunate to be selected as the recipient of the Ohio gift of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States. The Vogels dedicated their lives to collecting works by more than 170 artists.
The remarkable story of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel has become the stuff of lore. He a postal clerk, she a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library, who decided shortly after they married in 1962, to live on Dorothy's salary and to devote Herb's to purchasing art. Together they purchased thousands of artworks, cramming their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment floor to ceiling with art.
The Vogels’ collection is unique in several ways. Most of the works are intimate in scale owing to the limited space of their apartment. Perhaps most importantly, the collection is founded on extensive, long term dialogues with artists. As their friendships with artists evolved and proliferated over the years, the couple continually expanded their purview to collect work in a wide range of styles and media. All the while, they focused on work that pushes artistic boundaries.
By the 1970s, Dorothy and Herbert were recognized by the international press for their prescient attention to many of the artists they collected. Samplings from their collection were frequently exhibited by art institutions around the country.
By 1992, the Vogels were no longer able to house their collection. They decided to gift most of it to the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. They chose it because each had worked for government agencies and they wanted their art to go to a free public institution. The sheer size of the gift, which included 2,500 drawings, paintings, objects, prints and photographs by 177 artists, led to the development of a program in which the National Gallery would distribute 50 works from the collection to one institution in each of the fifty states.
The Vogels’ generous decision to disseminate their collection throughout the country is an important model of the power of philanthropy, especially given their modest means.
Akron’s Vogel collection includes paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by 26 artists and will be on view June 18 through October 16, 2011. Many, including Nam June Paik, Richard Tuttle, Lynda Benglis and Edda Renouf, have achieved international acclaim since the Vogels began collecting their work. The intimate scale of many of the artworks invites close looking. Twelve of Richard Tuttle’s subtle but poetic and lyrical watercolor paintings on sheets of notebook paper will be among the many captivating works on view.
The 26 artists included in Akron’s Vogel gift are Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Loren Calaway, Charles Clough, Richard Francisco, Don Hazlitt, Jene Highstein, David Hunter, Martin Johnson, Steve Keister, Alain Kirili, Mark Kostabi, Jill Levine, Michael Lucero, Robert Mangold, Joseph Nechvatal, Nam June Paik, Ray Parker, Lucio Pozzi, Edda Renouf, Judy Rifka, John Salt, Judith Shea, Lori Taschler, Daryl Trivieri, and Richard Tuttle.
More information about the Vogels and their national gifts initiative may be found at www.vogel5050.org.
This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and sponsored by a generous gift from The Welty Family Foundation and the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, Key Bank, Trustee.