Collectors Give 50 Artworks Each to 50 States
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 9:14 AM CDT
Dorothy Vogel with painter and photographer Chuck Close.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Herb and Dorothy Vogel had just modest incomes—he was a postal clerk, she a librarian—but over four decades they acquired more than 3,600 drawings, paintings, and collages from America's leading artists. They collected so much that they had to stuff works under their bed. But now the Vogels' one-bedroom apartment has been cleaned out, and their works have been scattered: 50 each to 50 museums across the country plus another 1,100 to the National Gallery in Washington.

For decades the Vogels, writes the Wall Street Journal, have been "Zelig-like presences on the New York art scene," visiting 25 shows a week. Chuck Close says they always preferred "the most unlikable, difficult, and least decorative work," though their acquisitions needed to be cheap and small enough to carry on public transport. Now each of the 50 museums will mount a mini-exhibition of their gifts, but the Vogel collection remains intact online—and Dorothy and Herb can finally walk around their apartment.