Herbert Vogel, pioneering collector, died yesterday from natural causes. He was 89. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dorothy Faye Hoffman Vogel, with whom he collected mainly minimal and conceptual art. Over the course of five decades, they acquired more than 5,000 works, most of which have been donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. and other institutions.
Vogel was born in New York City and studied art history and painting at the Institute of Fine Arts and New York University, respectively. After marrying in 1962, Hoffman and Vogel rented a studio in Manhattan, where they painted. They used their salaries as a postal clerk and a librarian, respectively, to purchase art. Their early collection included (but was not limited to) works by Sol LeWitt, Dan Graham, John Cage and Donald Judd. Some of their holdings were site-specific to their apartment.
Megumi Sasaki directed an acclaimed 2009 documentary, Herb & Dorothy, about the Vogels and their untraditional and humble approach to collecting art.
In 2008, the Vogels, with the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, developed a project called Vogel 50 x 50, through which the couple distributed a single work each to select art institutions in each of the 50 US states. Sasaki is in the process of creating a new film, Herb and Dorothy 50 x50.
In 2011, the Vogels received the College Art Association’s Centennial Award for Patronage.