Meet Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, postal clerk and librarian, respectively who became one of the most important modern art collectors in history.

With modest means, this couple managed to build up one of the most important modern art collections in history.

But rather than cash in, Herb and Dorothy Vogel are donating all 2,000 pieces to the National Gallery of Art.

The Vogels took pride in never selling anything they bought even though by the 1990s such sales would have made them millionaires.

They lived in a cozy, rent-controlled New York apartment filled with art. The couple purchased art using his salary and strategized by buying directly from artists, preferring trade to installment plans.

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the love story between Herbert and Dorothy Vogel

The couple met in 1961 and get married right after.  though their entire life, they built a world-class art collection through modest means.

The two were able to put together more than 4,000 items, over 20 years. In 1992 they gifted part of their collection to the National Gallery of Art in D.C leading to the development of the Fifty Works for Fifty States project.


Fifty Works for Fifty States 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.

The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection at the Albright-Knox includes works by Richard Artschwager, Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Charles Clough, Koki Doktori, R. M. Fischer, Richard Francisco, Don Hazlitt, Gene Highstein, Bill Jensen, Tobi Kahn, Steve Keister, Alain Kirlli, Mark Kostabi, Wendy Lehman, Michael Lucero, Joseph Nechvatal, Richard Nonas, Larry Poons, Lucio Pozzi, Edda Renouf, Judy Rifka, Barbara Schwartz, Darryl Trivieri, and Richard Tuttle.

Learn more about the Vogels on their website.


What a great example of living an honest fun life together, with more meaning than the worth of possessions from the material world.