Herb & Dorothy: Fifty Works for Fifty States

August 7, 2012 - January 6, 2013

The Vogels made an unprecedented gift to the nation, distributing gifts of fifty artworks to one museum in each of the fifty states. See the Montana selection in its entirety in this exhibition.

Herbert and Dorothy Vogel are among art history’s most unusual collectors and museum benefactors. With very modest means (both were civil servants) and a persistent drive to understand the “who” and “why” of the art world around them in New York City, they managed to amass a collection of about 5,000 works of art. They collected in areas that most other collectors overlooked. They met and befriended artists, asked questions, read, and went to museums and galleries. They never stopped. They developed an extraordinary instinct and formed an unprecedented collection.

The Vogels began in the early 1990s to make donations from their collections to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., although it wasn’t because their collection was “finished.” They continued to collect. As the new millenium dawned, they came up with another unprecedented idea: they decided to give their collection to the nation in an entirely new way. Thus, the Fifty Works for Fifty States project was born. Working with the National Gallery of Art, the Vogels selected one museum in each of the fifty states, and each museum received a gift of fifty works from their collection. In this way, the extraordinary resource that they created would enjoy the largest possible audience. The Yellowstone Art Museum was overjoyed to learn that it was the Montana selection, and the Vogel gift came to the YAM in 2009. This is the first time that it has been exhibited in its entirety.

The publication The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States is a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Special thanks to our sponsors:

David Orser & Ossie Abrams
Yellowstone Surgery Center


  2012-2013 Exhibition Season Sponsor