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Columbia Museum of Art announces major gift of nearly 600 works from Dorothy and Herbert Vogel
Pat Steir, Small Sea. Oil on canvas. CMA 2012.3.565.
COLUMBIA, SC.- The Columbia Museum of Art is the recipient of 594 works of art from Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, internationally recognized collectors of contemporary art. This substantial collection represents work in various media by 27 different artists including Richard Artschwager, Michael Lucero, Lucio Pozzi, Pat Steir, Daryl Trivieri, among others. Thirteen of these artists are not currently represented in the Museum’s collection.

The work of Trivieri and Pozzi comprises the bulk of the gift, and each artist is a master of a variety of media. Trivieri is at home with a ballpoint pen as he is with a motor-driven airbrush. His subjects include fantastic animals rendered with uncanny technical precision as well as ghostly, cloud-like portraits that fade away at the edges. Pozzi is an artist of limitless energy, at one moment creating a series of squares arranged on boldly painted blue backgrounds, and the next moment painting a brightly-colored seascape from up high on an Italian bluff. It is characteristic of contemporary artists that they drift from one medium to another, experimenting with many and mastering several.

“We are both honored and thrilled to be the recipient of this important collection from Herb and Dorothy Vogel, two of America’s leading collectors of cutting-edge contemporary art,” Karen Brosius, CMA executive director, said. “Their generous gift greatly strengthens our contemporary collection and supports our mission to celebrate outstanding artistic creativity.”

"I was intimately involved in the Vogel's Fifty Works for Fifty States initiative and saw how pleased they were by the enthusiasm of the Columbia Museum of Art at the time of that gift," Ruth Fine, recently retired National Gallery of Art curator of special projects in modern art, said. "In the field of contemporary art, the Vogels were inspired by the Kress Collection with works by old masters."

Herb Vogel is a retired postman, Dorothy a retired librarian, and on their modest incomes, they built a collection of over 4,500 objects spanning all media and covering the most innovative art movements of the late 20th century. Having worked in public service all their lives, the Vogels chose to give their art to art museums throughout the country. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, is the largest repository of the Vogel collection with 914 works. Additionally, in 2008 the Vogels gave 50 works of art to a museum in each of the 50 states, wanting to share their collection with the nation. Their joint knowledge and insight as collectors are explored in the 2008 award-winning film, Herb and Dorothy.

CMA was selected in 2008 as the recipient of the 50 works of art for South Carolina, a gift that was exhibited in 2010. Brosius visited with the Vogels at the time and expressed interest in a future donation of art, should such a possibility come about. The Vogels noted her enthusiasm and appreciation and determined that CMA would be offered an extensive selection of works remaining in their holdings following the National Gallery of Art donations and the 50/50 gifts.

CMA chief curator Will South visited the National Gallery of Art and met with curators and the Vogels. “The couple is deeply involved in the final disposition of their collection, the building of which has been the singular passion of their lives together,” South said. “That they have selected CMA as the second-largest repository of their art, after the National Gallery, is a significant vote of confidence in our ability to care for and show these works of art.”

“We are thrilled the Columbia Museum is receiving many works from our collections, as we so much wished to keep large parts of it together. We know the art has found a good home, will be used and appreciated, and enrich the lives of others the way it has for me and Herb,” Dorothy Vogel said.

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