The idea of collecting art too often falls in the sphere of the ultra-wealthy — those who can purchase large, dick-swinging pieces on a whim to decorate large, white-walled contemporary spaces.
There are, however, a few people who debunk this notion.
On Sunday, July 22, 2012, America lost one of its greatest collectors. Herb Vogel wasn't an industrialist, nor was he a newly minted tech billionaire. Herb Vogel was a simple man, a mailman, with a remarkable passion for art.
Mr. Vogel lived with his wife, Dorothy, in a small New York City apartment. Dorothy handled the expenses, modest as they were, through her job as a reference librarian. Herb spent his money on art. They bought things they loved, so long as they could carry them home on the subway, and over time amassed over 5,000 works from the likes of Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, and Edward Ruscha.
The impressive collection was gifted to the National Gallery in Washington, and the duo were celebrated in the documentary Herb & Dorothy. The tagline to the film, "You don't have to be a Rockefeller to collect art," perfectly describes the subject and also reminds that art need not exist in a stratified place.
We remember Herb Vogel for his eye, his spirit, and his unmatched passion for the true joys of art.