My Husband and I love watching documentaries and one of our favorites is the award-winning Herb and Dorothy by Megumi Sasaki. We love it so much that we have been watching it at least twice a year ever since it came out!!!
This documentary tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary couple with modest means, Herb, a postal clerk, and Dorothy, a librarian, who together managed to build one of the most important collections of Minimalist and Conceptual art.
Spending all of Herb’s salary for art, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, the Vogels amassed over 5,000 works of art. In 1992, the Vogels donated their collection, estimated at several million dollars, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
At the core of this film is a love story that celebrates not only the couple’s passion for art but also their dedication to each other. It is through their loving partnership that the viewer experiences their remarkable story. I’m sure that most of you out there have seen it already but if you haven’t yet please do…. its a must!!!
I’m planning to watch the “part 2” of this documentary soon … the 2nd one is called HERB & DOROTHY 50X50. This one focuses on the final chapter of the Vogel’s extraordinary life and their gift to their country, raising various questions on art, and what it takes to support art in today’s society.
In 2008, legendary art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel made an announcement that stunned the art world. The Vogels launched a national gift project with the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington DC that would constitute one of the largest gifts in the history of American art: to give a total of 2,500 artworks to museums in all fifty states.
This came sixteen years after the Vogels had transferred their entire collection to NGA, the majority as a gift, making headlines in 1992. During those years at the NGA, the collection had grown to nearly 5,000 pieces, too large for any one museum to contain. As a solution, a national gift project titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for the Fifty States was conceived. Though their collection was now worth millions of dollars, the couple did not sell a single piece, instead of giving fifty works to one museum in every state.
On July 22, 2012, Dorothy declared their collection closed after the passing of her husband Herb. Dorothy works to create a living tribute to their partnership, the collection they created together, and the overwhelmingly positive legacy they have left on the American art world for generations to come.
Can you imagine? On two lower middle-income government paychecks? and living in a rent-controlled small one bedroom apartment in Manhattan? They have collected almost 5,000 pieces of art, most by major artists….Oh, and Btw where do you think they stored their valuable collection before it was all donated? All their collection was stored in their tiny little apartment… under their bed! In the bathroom … every nook was stuffed with art…. they barely had a place to sit!! they had 2 chairs that they left for them to sit on and haven’t seen their sofa in years before all that art was sorted out!
They donated about half of it to the National Gallery of Art, and the other half (in 50 piece increments) to museums in all 50 states!!!
How incredible were those two?
Featured artists include Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chuck Close, Sylvia Plimack, Lucio Pozzi, James Siena, Pat Steir, Richard Tuttle, and Lawrence Weiner.