Herb Vogel passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Herb was a postal worker in Manhattan. He was also one of the most important collectors of modern art in New York.
Together with his wife Dorothy, a librarian, Herb amassed a modern art collection that rivaled Charles Saatchi’s in its importance and breadth.
Here’s how they did it.
They lived off Dorothy’s income as a librarian and poured Herb’s postal wages into buying modern art.
For decades they scoured the artists’ lofts of lower New York, attending endless openings and befriending up and coming artists. Constantly looking for pieces of art that spoke to them in some way.
And because they were ahead of the curve (they couldn’t afford not to be ahead of the curve) they bought art (for cash) that later ballooned in value.
In 2008 a wonderful and truly inspirational documentary about these two was released and was an immediate sensation. It was rather sensibly titled “Herb and Dorothy”.
“How can two ordinary people possibly amass such a valuable art collection?” was everyone’s reaction.
Well, they did it by not playing by the rules, basically.
Herb and Dorothy did it for fun.
And they stuck at it for years and years and years.
“Herb and Dorothy have eyes that see”, one New York art collector put it in the documentary.