The Independent has recently published the story of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, an ordinary couple with an extraordinary art collection. Mr Vogel, who passed away on Sunday aged 89, worked nights sorting post at New York’s post offices and Mrs Vogel was a reference librarian in Brooklyn. They began collecting art in the early 1960s after visiting the National Gallery in Washington on their honeymoon.
Unlike many art collectors Mr and Mrs Vogel, known to many in the art world as ‘Herb and Dorothy’, weren’t wealthy and acquired their entire collection by means of their salaries and pensions. They bargained directly with the artists, sometimes paying in instalments. Once, they received a collage from Christo and Jeanne-Claude in exchange for cat-sitting.
Herb and Dorothy mostly collected conceptual art and minimalism. They had simple criteria; the art had to be inexpensive and small enough to carry on the subway or in a taxi. It also had to fit into their one-bedroom flat. The acquisitions soon grew into an impressive salient collection featuring numerous respected artists, such as Chuck Close, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Nam June Paik, Julian Schnabel, Robert Smithson, Lynda Benglis, John Baldessari and Jeff Koons.
Highlights of their collection included Robert Mangold’s ‘X Series (Medium Scale)’ (1968), Donald Judd’s ‘Galvanised Iron Box’ (1968) and Carl Andre’s sculpture ‘Nine Steel Rectangles’ (1977). Earl Powell III, director of the National Gallery explains how, “they did not collect work by marquee artists at the time, but many of them later became well known.”
Over almost 50 years they compiled more than 5,000 works, including paintings, drawings, sculpture and works that defied classification. Incredibly, despite not enjoying the wealth of most serious collectors, the couple didn’t sell a single piece until 1991 when, after years of negotiation, the National Gallery acquired much of their collection. Estimates of the value of their collection range well into the millions. ”We could have easily become millionaires,” Mr Vogel told the Associated Press in 1992, adding: “But we weren’t concerned about that aspect.”
Mr Vogel couldn’t elucidate why he had dedicated so much to his art collection, or even why he had chosen particular pieces “I just like art,” he told the Washington Post in 1992. “I don’t know why I like art. I don’t know why I like nature. I don’t know why I like animals. I don’t know why I even like myself.”
Many artists became friends with the couple and would sometimes be invited to their apartment for a TV dinner. We wish we could have had dinner in their one-bed treasure trove. Herb and Dorothy are an inspiration and a refreshing reminder that anyone can have an impact on the art world.
Gary Webber packing art for transfer from the Vogels’ apartment to Washington, 1992; the collectors look on, with Jack Cowart and associate in background. Photograph by John Dominis
Dorothy Vogel and Herbert with cats in front of fish and turtle tanks. Photograph by John Dominis
Dorothy and Herbert Vogel at The Clocktower with a drawing by Philip Pearlstein behind them, 1975. Photograph by Nathaniel Tileston. © Nathaniel Tileston, 2008
‘Noiseless Blackboard Eraser’ Joseph Beuys, Print: felt blackboard eraser (two), each with printed and stamped paper label, with marker, Date: 1974
‘Aqua Not #29’ Lynda Benglis, Painting: cast pigmented paper and paint, 53 x 50 x 5 inches, Date: 1980
‘Untitled’ Carl Andre, Drawing: ink (rubber stamp) on paper, 8 1/2 x 8 9/16 in.
All images courtesy of vogel5050.org
Last Thursday saw a busy night at the Hospital Club at the opening of Dave White’s stunning show Natural Selection. The gallery space was packed and there was a real buzz of excitement in response to this artist’s fantastic new works.
Natural selection is a collection of works featuring images of endangered animals. Dave White has a real talent for capturing the essence of an animal; studying the wildlife and reproducing it to great effect. Visitors to the show were visibly impressed by the power of the works and several of the pieces sold within the first hour of the opening, confirming his place as one of Britain’s most exciting up and coming artists.
It is Dave White’s largest solo exhibition to date comprising original oils, watercolours and limited edition prints. The show will be continuing at the Hospital Club until the 7th July and after that works will be available for purchase through artrepublic. We also have several prints from the show that are available to purchase now.
If you would like further information of available works or to enquire about other works and artists we have in the gallery please call:
artrepublic Soho: +44 (0)20 7240 7909
artrepublic Brighton: +44 (0)1273 724829
artrepublic is really pleased to have two new prints from an amazing collaboration between two of urban art’s greatest heroes; the hugely influential Shephard Fairey and one of the originators of punk art Jamie Reid.
Shephard Fairey is most well known for the creation of Obey Giant, featuring a graphic representation of the wrestler Andre the Giant, and more recently for working on the Obama campaign in 2008. Often rebellious but highly motivated he is one of the most influential and prolific street artists around. Jamie Reid, a controversial figure in the art world, pushes the boundaries of taste and is best known for his involvement in the punk rock movement of the 1970s creating the iconic artwork for the Sex Pistols’ album cover for “Anarchy in the UK”.
These two new phenomenal prints “Bright Future” and “Shoplifters Welcome” have been released following the recent ” Ragged Kingdom” exhibition. It was Jamie Reid’s first solo show in LA at Shephard Fairey’s gallery Subliminal Projects and is a result of various parallels in their interests, talents, and inspirations. In their own individual styles, both artists are renowned for making a statement through art and often with a strong political element.
“Jamie has been one of my biggest influences and I’m honoured that we worked on some collaborative images for the show. The new images deal with mutual interests of Jamie and I, addressing the timeless problems of corruption and wealth inequality, but tie into the very current themes of Occupy Wall Street and the dead end of fossil fuel consumption.” - Shepard Fairey.
Jamie Reid has created stylised images with a Punk aesthetic in strong reference to the Occupy London, Occupy Wall Street and anti-oil power movement. Bright Future is 76x76 cm and comes in 2 colourways Pink/Orange and Red/Black featuring a pair of classic cars with “empire” and “nowhere” on their number plates, and with one of the cars engulfed in flames. The slogan “Burn Cars Not Petrol” in Reid’s familiar cut and paste style clearly refers to the artist’s disapproval of the oil industry and current environmental crisis. Reid is well known for exposing and protesting against modern society’s social and cultural injustices.
Shoplifters Welcome also comes in 2 colourways Red/Black/Cream and Pink/Black/Cream 66.5 x 87.5 cm. The image comprises a disembodied hand that is inserting a ballot of “No Regulation” into a Wall Street labelled brief case. The political connotation that surrounds the image is affirmed by the print above it that appears as “Special offer” advertisement welcoming shoplifters in “This decade only”: an effective comment on the current state of the banking industry and the lack of regulation.
The prints are for sale at a very reasonable £840 and are only in editions of 50 so no doubt will have a lot of interest. The silkscreens have been handprinted and dual signed by Jamie Reid and Shephard Fairey