There are few heroes in the art world who stir the imagination as Herb and Dorothy Vogel do. A librarian and a postal worker, Dorothy and Herb started their art collection in the 1960s with modest means, a one-bedroom apartment, and a passion for discovery. Over the course of thirty years, they created a large, well respected collection of American art that now hangs in the National Gallery of Art for everyone to enjoy. More importantly, they created a rich life for themselves and meaningful relationships with artists by visiting the studios of struggling New York artists and getting to know them. By supporting emerging artists, the Vogels actually influenced the direction of American art.
I think the story of Herb and Dorothy is so appealing because the Vogels acquired art out of a sense of joy. They were guided by their own inner sensibilities and not the whims of critics, curators or other collectors. The Vogels really loved their art collection as well as the process of acquiring it.
Today, art is more readily available than ever, particularly here in the East Bay when artists open their studios to the public June 2-3 and 9-10. Over 400 artists in 16 East Bay cities invite you in to see how they work and if you like, purchase work directly from them.
Use the free catalogue with maps to studios and plot your route. As you make your way through one studio and another, you will be astounded by the sheer variety of the work as well the amount of creative energy in every neighborhood of the East Bay.
Most art never makes it into a commercial gallery or museum because curators and gallery directors will only support a few trends which they deem important. Therefore, if you want to see the true diversity of what is going on in art these days, you have to go and find it for yourself. And when you are ready, you'll find works in every price range and every imaginable style and medium so that almost anyone can have their own "Dorothy and Herb" moment.