Vogel Collection to go on display at Portland Museum of Art

Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 in Culture

Vogel Collection to go on display at Portland Museum of Art

Untitled by Antoni Miralda, 1972, bread, colored and baked, mounted on mat board, on wood inside Plexiglas case. This work will be shown at the Portland Museum of Art as part of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States.

PORTLAND — Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. After more than 40 years of collecting art, they began giving the collection away as a remarkable gift to the nation.

The Portland Museum of Art was selected to be the recipient of 50 works as part of a national gifts program. The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Maine, will go on view Aug. 13 and run through Jan. 29.

Because of the number of works in the Vogel Collection, this exhibition will be divided into two parts. Part I, on view Aug. 13 through Oct. 23, will feature figurative and painterly works. Part II, on view Nov. 4 through Jan. 29, will feature architectural and minimalist works.

This will be the first exhibition of these works since the museum received the donation in 2008.

The exhibit will include works by Will Barnet, Richard Tuttle, Claudia De Monte and Steve Keister. The best-known works in the Vogel Collection are examples of minimalist and conceptual art, but they also include pieces of a figurative and expressionist nature. Primarily a collection of drawings, the collection also includes paintings, sculptures, and prints by artists mainly working in the United States.

The Vogel Collection is unique among collections of contemporary art, both for the character and breadth of the objects and for the individuals who created it. Herbert Vogel (born 1922) spent most of his working life as an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, and Dorothy Vogel (born 1935) was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. The Vogels began collecting in the early 1960s, setting their collecting priorities above those of personal comfort. With the exception of the collection formed by their friend, artist Sol LeWitt, no other known private collection of similar work in Europe or America rivals the range, complexity, and quality of the art the Vogels acquired.

During the years in which the Vogel Collection was formed, artists’ use of drawing as a primary medium expanded. Many drawings in the collection represent an artist’s initial form of an idea, and others act as plans to be followed by a collaborator in the making of a work of art. This emphasis on drawings adds to the unique and intimate nature of the Vogel Collection, making their gifts an important educational tool for museums.

The Vogels, with the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, created the national gifts program entitled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States. The program distributed 2,500 works from the Vogels’ collection of contemporary art throughout the nation, with 50 works going to a selected art institution in each of the 50 states in 2008. For more information about this program, visit www.vogel50x50.org.
The book, The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, is available in the Museum Store for $29.95.


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