Dorothy Vogel and Herbert with cats in front of fish and turtle tanks. Photograph by John Dominis



The Vogels and their collection: A Timeline


Herbert Vogel born, New York, New York.


Dorothy Faye Hoffman born, Elmira, New York.


Herb takes classes in art history at the New York University (NYU) Institute of Fine Arts; paints nights and weekends; frequents artists’ meeting places including Cedar Tavern; meets Franz Kline, David Smith, and Sol LeWitt, among others.

Dorothy earns bachelor’s degree (Syracuse University) and master’s degree (University of Denver) in library science.

Dorothy moves to Brooklyn in 1958 to work at the Brooklyn Public Library.


Dorothy and Herb meet (November 6, 1960) at reunion for Tamiment, a Poconos Mountain resort in Pennsylvania, held in New York City at Stadtler-Hilton Hotel.

Dorothy and Herb become engaged (1961). To celebrate, they purchase a ceramic vase by Pablo Picasso.

Marriage of Dorothy and Herb in Elmira, New York (January 1962). Honeymoon in Washington DC, where they visit the National Gallery of Art (NGA) for the first time.

Purchase sculpture by John Chamberlain, now in NGA collection, marking Dorothy’s first visit to an artist’s studio.

Adopt their first cat (spring 1962).

Herb works for the US Postal Service, until retirement in 1979.

Dorothy continues to work for the Brooklyn Public Library system, until retirement in 1990.

Vogels take weekly painting and drawing classes at NYU and rent studio in Union Square.

Begin spending Saturdays at New York City galleries to view new art.

Move into Manhattan one-bedroom apartment (December 1963), where they still reside.

Travel to Europe, visiting many museums (1963, 1965, 1970).

Give up making art to focus efforts and resources on collecting, using Dorothy’s salary for living expenses and Herb’s for purchasing art (1965).

Purchase painting by Will Insley from Stable Gallery, New York (spring 1965).

See exhibition of sculptures by Sol LeWitt at Daniels Gallery, New York, and purchase a work from the artist’s studio (August 1965) after exhibition closes, marking beginning of their serious collecting.


Visit three exhibitions most influential in shaping their collection:

Primary Structures, Jewish Museum, New York (April 27–June 12, 1966), including works by Carl Andre, Robert Morris, and Donald Judd, of which the Vogels were among the first collectors (1966).

January Show, organized by Seth Siegelaub (January 5–31, 1969), with works by Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, and Lawrence Weiner.

Amsterdam, Paris, Düsseldorf, organized by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (October 6–November 26, 1972), including works by Joseph Beuys and Klaus Rinke.


Reputation as collectors spreads and US and European museum curators begin visiting the Vogel apartment.