“An ordinary couple with an extraordinary addiction.”
—The Telegraph, UK
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will exhibit the contemporary art from the storied 50 x 50: The Herbert and Dorothy Vogel Collection in the Blessing Family Gallery as part of the FAC permanent collection rotating exhibition series, Raiding the Crates.
In 2008, the FAC was selected to receive a gift of 50 works of art from New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, with the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The gifts are part of a national gifts program entitled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States.
As part of the program, one institution in each of the 50 states received 50 works of art. Artists represented in the FAC gift include Adam Fuss, Michael Lucero, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Richard Tuttle and Will Barnet, who was granted the National Medal of Arts by President Obama earlier this year.
“The Vogel Collection gift has provided immediate strength in works by influential Conceptual artists of the late 20th century,” said FAC Museum Director Blake Milteer. “This is an immensely important contribution as the FAC continues to actively fill significant gaps in the historical narrative represented by our collection.”
Herb, who passed away last July, was a postal worker and his wife Dorothy, a librarian. The couple lived on one salary and collected art with the other, managing to build what has been called one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. Herb and Dorothy quietly began purchasing the minimalist and conceptual works of unknown artists, guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment.
The couple proved themselves curatorial visionaries; many of those they supported and befriended became world-renowned artists like Tuttle, Fuss, Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chuck Close, and more.
The best-known aspects of the Vogel Collection are minimal and conceptual art. Primarily a collection of drawings, the 2,500 works the Vogels are donating also include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints by more than 170 contemporary artists, mainly working in the United States.
“Their lifetime accomplishment in creating this collection is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Sam Gappmayer, FAC CEO and President. “The Fine Arts Center is honored to be the Colorado recipient of such a unique gift.”
The Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art has worked closely with Dorothy and Herbert Vogel since 1991, when it acquired a portion of their collection, through partial purchase and gift from the Vogels. Since the couple formed their association with the National Gallery, the Vogels’ collection has continued to grow to include some 4,000 works, far more than can appropriately be placed in a single institution.
Inspired by the Kress Foundation’s placement of old master paintings throughout the United States in the middle of the last century, the Vogels hope that their project will, as a parallel effort, enhance knowledge of the art of our time.
“We hope this will be a truly national program, and that it will make the work of the many artists we admire familiar to a wider audience. We also hope our gifts will enable museums throughout the country to represent a significant range of contemporary art,” said Dorothy Vogel on behalf of the couple.
Works from the collection have appeared in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, including two major exhibitions organized by the National Gallery that were selected solely from their collection. In 1994, From Minimal to Conceptual Art: Works from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection was on view at the National Gallery of Art. It was also seen in 1997 at the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery in Austin, and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. In 1998, the exhibition traveled abroad to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku, Finland. Following its 2002 presentation in Washington, Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Vogel Collection was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
Other institutions receiving works from the Vogel Collection include the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Indianapolis Museum of Art, Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis), Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha), Portland Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.