Laura and I met up with Grace on Saturday afternoon to go see the documentary “Herb and Dorothy” which was playing at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth.
The film told the story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a couple who lived their entire life in Manhattan. He was a postal worker and she was a librarian; they lived in a very small rent controlled one bedroom apartment. What made them utterly fascinating was that they were also one of New York’s foremost art collectors. Since the 1960s they had been buying works from unknown and emerging artists in NY; they lived on Dorothy’s salary and bought art with Herb’s salary. By the time they decided to donate their collection the National Gallery, they had amassed close to 5000 works which was valued in the millions.
A few notes:
-It is rare in our society to have people so entirely dedicated to something with no though about profit or economic value. They never sold a single work, and their entire life was lived simply, modestly.
-They were as interested in the artists –as actual people/friends/ human beings- as they were in the art. They weekly made phones calls to numerous artists to see what they what new art they were up to and were seemingly constantly on the move to galleries and artist’s studios.
-They sought the beauty in the unconventional and the unusual. They were intent on seeing the thought and development of an artist’s work.
It was a well made documentary and will be well worth your time when it comes out on video (I don’t think it will be seeing many theater showings in Texas). Here is the trailer: