Current Exhibitions

The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States

12/14/2013 - 06/22/2014

Goodman Gallery & Kraft Gallery map


Curated by Dr. Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Art

Dorothy (b.1935) and Herbert Vogel (1922-2012), demonstrated that anyone—no matter how modest their resources—can collect fine art. For decades they used her librarian's salary for living expenses, but spent his postal worker’s earnings on contemporary art. Living in a small, rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan, they saved money for their purchases by rarely dining out or traveling. The Vogels often forged relationships with emerging artists, buying directly from them and sometimes paying in installments. Instead of purchasing for investment purposes, they chose only pieces they both liked and which were small enough to carry on the subway or in a taxi. Once they received a collage from the environmental artist Christo in exchange for cat-sitting. The Vogels’ collection eventually grew to nearly 5,000 pieces, including work by Cindy Sherman, Robert Mangold, Christo, and Richard Tuttle. These artists and the others in the Vogels’ holdings represent a wide variety of art movements from Minimal to Conceptual art to Neo-Expressionist works.  

As the Vogels grew older, they realized that their collection deserved to be shared with the public. In a unique partnership with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Vogels gifted the entire collection to the people of the United States. Half of these works remained in the National Gallery, while the remaining 2,500 works objects divided equally among fifty museums in each state. The Brooks was selected as the recipient for Tennessee; this exhibition is its first public showing in Memphis.  

Robert Barry, American, b. 1936
Silver pencil and black paint on paper
MEMPHIS BROOKS MUSEUM OF ART, THE DOROTHY AND HERBERT Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services   2009.2.3
© Robert Barry