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March 2011

Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, Features Works from Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Greensboro, NC, is presenting the exhibit, The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, on view through May 8, 2011.

In the middle of the last century, the Kress Foundation placed Old Master paintings in museums across the country. In 2009, the Vogels decided to share their enormous holdings of contemporary art in similar fashion. Beginning in 1991, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, acquired more than 1,000 pieces from the Vogels’ collection through a combination of gift and purchase. The Gallery then worked closely with the Vogels, with support from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to distribute 2,500 artworks to fifty selected institutions - one in each state. The Weatherspoon was the very fortunate North Carolina recipient of their generosity with a gift that includes drawings, collages, and paintings by 24 individual artists.

Collectively, the works offer a window into the Vogels’ lifelong collecting activity, demonstrating their wide interests and personal involvement with numerous artists. Included are cool minimal works from the 1970s by Robert Barry and Lucio Pozzi, gestural abstractions by Lynda Benglis and Charles Clough, and figurative works by Michael Lucero and Stephen Kaltenbach. The Vogels collected certain artists’ works almost by volume, one of which is Richard Tuttle, whose process-driven drawings and watercolors came straight out of his notebooks. A number of works have personal inscriptions from the artists on the occasion of the Vogels’ birthdays or as thanks for their great support.

The Vogels’ story is extraordinary and has been captured beautifully in the film, Herb and Dorothy, by Megumi Sasaki. Herbert Vogel worked as a United States Postal Service employee for most of his life, and Dorothy Vogel was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. They began collecting soon after they were married, when they purchased a small sculpture by John Chamberlain in 1962 - and, thus ensued a lifelong passion. Their appetite for looking at and learning about art was voracious, and they spent most evenings and Saturdays visiting artists’ studios and galleries. Dorothy’s salary was allocated to pay the bills, while Herb’s funded their collecting habit. With a limited budget, and a one-bedroom apartment to house their collection, they gravitated toward drawings and smaller works, but not without the occasional piece too large to fit comfortably in the living room.

This exhibition is presented as part of the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s 70th Anniversary year, which is highlighting many works from the permanent collection. The film, Herb and Dorothy, will be screened on Thursday, Mar. 3, 2011. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, Washington, DC, has created a website also to present the Vogels’ story, found at ( One can access the entire collection of 2,500 works in he Fifty Works for Fifty States collection, with links to the artists and examples of their other works.

The exhibition is a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2009.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 336/334-5770 or visit (

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