Out & About

March 13, 2014

The collection the postal worker and librarian built

Art: 'Dorothy and Herb Vogel: On Drawing' on dislplay at UVM's Fleming Museum

BURLINGTON — New Yorkers Dorothy and Herbert Vogel passionately collected art they loved of NYC artists and transients for more than 40 years.

The librarian and U.S. Postal Service clerk amassed more than 4,000 works, 75 percent of which were drawings.

The Fleming Museum of Art presents the second half of the Vogels’ gift to the institution in “Dorothy and Herb Vogel: On Drawing” on exhibit through May 18.


Herb attended art-history classes at New York University Institute of Fine Arts beginning in the mid-1950s, according to the exhibition catalog “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States.”

His teachers included Max Friedlander, Robert Goldwater and Erwin Panofsky.

“These brilliant scholars provided him a historical framework for the art-based adventure he and Dorothy began during their honeymoon in Washington, D.C., where the National Gallery of Art became the setting for her introduction to old master paintings,” according to the catalog.

Herb painted in his Bronx apartment and introduced Dorothy to painting and art history. After their January 1962 marriage, they rented a studio at 41 Union Square.

“They realized at a certain point they were better collectors and they enjoyed collecting more than they did making their own art,” said Janie Cohen, director of the Fleming Museum.

“So, they started collecting in 1962. He gave her a Picasso vase for their engagement, which they picked out together. But they began collecting during a period where minimalism and conceptualism were really the dominant movements.”


Neither of these are very user-friendly movements.

“Minimalism, which really began to be really big in the mid-’60s, was all about kind of pruning away everything in art except for primary shapes, except for material,” Cohen said. “Donald Judd was a major minimalist artist. He had these huge, stainless-steel cubes. So it was true to the material. Get rid of all frills, all decoration, all metaphor, just it is what it is.”

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