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Dorothy and Herbert Vogel papers, 1960s-2009

Biographical Note

Dorothy (1935- ) and Herbert Vogel (1922-2012) were contemporary art collectors in New York City, New York. The middle-class couple bought and collected art for forty-five years and amassed an extensive collection.
A life-long New Yorker, Herbert Vogel was born in 1922 and dropped out of school to work in a garment factory. After joining the U.S. Army, Vogel became a postal clerk and began to frequent Greenwich Village's Cedar Bar, a popular bar of the arts crowd. Vogel developed a deep appreciation for art and for the artists themselves.
In 1960, he met librarian Dorothy Faye Hoffman and they quickly fell in love. During their honeymoon, they visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Dorothy and Herb's first purchase was a sculpture by John Chamberlain. On their civil servant salary, the Vogels continued to collect and purchase art, beginning with young artists of the 1960s and 1970s while bypassing the dealer system of the New York City art scene. The result was a collection of 5,000 pieces which had to fit in their one-bedroom apartment.
In 1992, the Vogels donated the bulk of their collection to the National Gallery of Art, with fifty pieces intended to go to a museum or institution in each of the United States. Herbert Vogel died in 2012 in Manhattan and is survived by Dorothy.