Fifty Works for Fifty States: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection

December 17, 2009–Feb 28, 2010
Koss Gallery

Dorothy and Herbert Vogel have made art collecting a lifelong journey, amassing a world-class collection of over 4,000 works on a shoestring budget. Herbert (1922–2012) spent most of his working life as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service; Dorothy (b. 1935) was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. The couple devoted Herbert’s modest salary to the purchase of artworks and befriended many of the artists that would come to lead the minimal, conceptual, and post-minimal art movements. Their collection consists primarily of small-scale drawings, but they have also collected paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs, and illustrated books.

The story of the Vogels’ collection has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Modern Painters, among other publications, and is the subject of the award-winning documentary, Herb & Dorothy, which has the slogan “You don’t have to be a Rockefeller to collect art.”

In keeping with their history of civil service, the Vogels recently worked with the National Gallery of Art to gift 2,500 works from their collection throughout the nation, with 50 works going to one selected public art institution in each of the 50 states. The Museum celebrates its selection as the institution to represent Wisconsin with this exhibition.

Related Publication

Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States—Exhibition Catalogue
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The gift to the Milwaukee Art Museum that comprises this exhibition is part of a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute for Modern and Library Services. The exhibition is curated by Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art John McKinnon.
  • Dorothy and Herbert Vogel at The Clocktower with a drawing by Philip Pearlstein behind them, 1975. Photo by Nathaniel Tileston.