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NY premiere of ‘Herb & Dorothy 50x50’: former BPL librarian who amassed world-class art collection

Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Photo courtesy of Fine Line Media, Inc.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Opening September 13th at the IFC Center, “Herb & Dorothy 50x50,” produced by Fine Line Media, Inc., is the last chapter in a two-part documentary about a retired Brooklyn Public Library librarian (Dorothy) and postal worker (Herb) who built a world-class art collection on humble salaries, and then gave it all away.

In 2008, after amassing a collection worth millions of dollars, Herb and Dorothy Vogel decided not to sell a single piece – instead, they launched a gift project with the National Gallery of Art (NGA) that would constitute one of the largest gifts in the history of American art: a total of 2,500 artworks given to museums in all fifty states.

This came sixteen years after the Vogels had transferred their entire collection to NGA, the majority as a gift, making headlines in 1992. During those years at the NGA, the collection had grown to nearly 5,000 pieces, too large for any one museum to contain. As a solution, a national gift project titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States was conceived. 

Though their collection was now worth millions of dollars, the couple opted to give fifty works to one museum in every state. Having worked their whole lives as civil servants, their wish was to give back to the people of the United States.

"Herb and Dorothy are unsung American heroes. It is such a delight and honor to be able to complete their life story with ‘Herb & Dorothy 50x50,’” said Megumi Sasaki of Fine Line Media. “Their legacy and contribution have extended far beyond just America or the world of contemporary art. My only regret is Herb didn't get to see the film. But I know his spirit has been with us this whole way, and I hope the film's release will be a wonderful tribute to him," said Sasaki.

In August of 2012, Dorothy declared their collection closed after the passing of her husband Herb, and works to create a living tribute to their partnership, the collection they created together, and the overwhelmingly positive legacy they have left on the American art world for generations to come. 

Developed as the follow-up film to Megumi Sasaki’s award-winning documentary “Herb & Dorothy” (2008) that moved millions of art-lovers worldwide, “Herb & Dorothy 50x50” captures the last chapter of the Vogel’s extraordinary life and their gift to the nation, raising various questions on art, and what it takes to support art in today’s society.

Throughout its run, bring your Brooklyn Public Library card and receive a $3 discount off regular adult prices.

September 11, 2013 - 10:30am


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