November 19th, 2009

"Untitled" by Don Hazlitt, Sculpture: mixed media, 7.5" x 6", Date: 1980

The Utah State University’s Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art has been selected to receive a gift of 50 works of art from New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, with the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Gallery MAR is bringing “Herb and Dorothy,” a documentary about this collector duo, to the Park City Film Series on December 3rd at 7pm. Learn more about the screening here: “Herb and Dorothy” Screening.

In a press release, U.S.U. tells us that the gift is part of a national gifts program entitled “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States,” which will distribute 2,500 works from the Vogels’s personal collection of more than 4,000 works of contemporary art throughout the nation, with 50 works going to one selected art institution in each of the 50 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,” said Ruth Fine, curator National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “Herbert Vogel (b. 1922) spent most of his working life as an employee of the United States Postal Service, and Dorothy Vogel (b. 1935) was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. After visiting the National Gallery of Art on their honeymoon in 1962, they prioritized collecting art above personal comfort; the couple used Dorothy’s salary to cover their living expenses and devoted Herbert’s salary to buying primarily minimalist and conceptual art by unknown artists. Their two rules for collecting? The piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit into a taxi and then into their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment.”

“This gift represents the hard work and the dedicated staff and donors who have built the reputation of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art,” she said. “We will be able to offer more unique experiences to our students with the generous gift from the Vogels and the government agencies supporting this project. This is one more step to offering excellence — something we’ve had and now we are drawing national attention. Being selected as Utah’s only recipient [of these 50 artworks] is an extraordinary honor and comes to us, unsolicited, after 26 years of establishing a collection and building a reputation for the museum,” Berry said. “We look forward to developing educational programming and featuring these works along with others from our permanent collection for visitors from throughout the state of Utah and the entire intermountain region.”

Berry said receiving the gift is a natural fit for the museum, expanding the collection to represent artists working in conceptual and minimalist art in New York. “Now, with these works at our museum, traveling to see work of this caliber will be a little easier for students and residents of Utah once the gift has arrived sometime in 2009,” she said.

You can see the U.S.U. works here: Vogel Collection.