Librarian and postal clerk divvy up art collection

    Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia gets 50 pieces from 4,000 part private collection of contemporary art.

    One of the largest private collections of contemporary art has been broken up and donated to museums around the country – including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. The gift comes from an elderly couple who spent their married life amassing a 4,000 piece collection in their one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment.

    Dorothy and Herbert Vogel look at their donations
    Dorothy and Herbert Vogel look at their donations

    Dorothy Vogel is a retired public librarian. Herbert Vogel is a retired postal clerk. Together they bought their first art piece as newlyweds in 1962. They made a deal: to spent her salary just for living expenses and his salary just for contemporary art. Dorothy says it worked.

    “We never stopped buying clothes, never stopped buying books, never stopped going to restaurants. We didn’t give up anything. We did what we wanted to do. We didn’t give up anything.”

    Mrs. Vogel says they always had the option to sell something if they needed the money, but they never did. At auction, the collection is now worth millions. The Vogels decided to donated their collection museums. An Academy of Fine Arts curator, Julien Robson, says the gift is invaluable.

    “It provides us with a body of work that fills out our ability to tell the story of art in late 20th century. Some artists are represented in depth, some in individual pieces, and it allows us to flesh out the stories we are able to tell.”

    A single admission allows a visitor into PAFA and to the Delaware Art Museum, which also received 50 works from the Vogel’s.

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