Herb and Dorothy Vogel in their
New York apartment, 2008.
Unlikely art collectors

Herb and Dorothy

He was a postal worker. She was a librarian. Together they amassed one of the most important contemporary art collections in the world.

Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a seemingly ordinary couple, lived for decades in a humble one-bedroom Manhattan apartment with cats, turtles, fish and ultimately more than 4,000 art-works.  The couple used Herb’s salary to buy art, while Dorothy’s paychecks covered the bills.

From the earliest days together, The Vogels realized the joys of collecting, concentrating on contemporary art.  A Picasso ceramic piece was purchased for their engagement and a John Chamberlain (known for welding old automobile parts in abstract forms) sculpture to celebrate their wedding in 1962.

By the early 1990s, the Vogels’ collection filled every corner of their living space, from the bathroom to the kitchen, floor to ceiling. “Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment,” recalls Dorothy. The place was bursting at the seams, and something had to be done.

Courted by every major museum, the couple astounded the art world by transferring their entire collection, worth several million dollars, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. – the first place they visited on their honeymoon.  As government workers themselves, they liked the idea of sharing their prized pieces with the American people.

After weeks of packing, shippers carted away a staggering five full-sized moving trucks of paintings, drawings and sculptures from the tiny apartment.

Today, still in love with each other and with art, Herb and Dorothy live in the same apartment, with their pet turtles, fish and cat. The once completely emptied space is again filled with art.

And we fell in love with Herb and Dorothy in this video!
Click here if unable to view the video.

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