Conversations with Collectors

The Conversations with Collectors series began in 1996 to highlight contemporary collectors who have contributed to the permanent collection or special exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art.

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Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art, and collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Dorothy and Herbert Vogel have amassed one of the greatest collections of minimal, conceptual, and post-minimal art in the world, acquiring works by some of the most important contemporary artists of our time. Curator Ruth Fine spoke with the Vogels two years after they announced The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States project, which distributed their vast collection across the country for all to enjoy. In this podcast, the Vogels relate stories from the recipient museums and their special exhibitions celebrating the gifts.

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Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, collectors, in conversation with Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art, National Gallery of Art. New York art collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel discuss the genesis of their extraordinary art collection with curator Ruth Fine in this podcast recorded on Sunday, November 16, 2008, at the National Gallery of Art. Over a 45-year period, the Vogels collected 4,782 works of art and stored them in their one-bedroom New York apartment. In 1991, the National Gallery of Art acquired a portion of their collection, through partial purchase and gift from the Vogels, which consists largely of minimal and conceptual art. In 2008, the Vogels and the National Gallery of Art, with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, launched a national gifts program titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States in 2008. The program distributed 2,500 works from the Vogels' collection throughout the nation, with 50 works going to a selected art institution in each of the 50 states.

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Barney A. Ebsworth, collector, in conversation with Franklin Kelly, curator of American and British paintings, National Gallery of Art. To celebrate the opening of Twentieth-Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection at the National Gallery of Art on March 5, 2000, Barney A. Ebsworth discussed the collection’s history and the works selected for the exhibition with Franklin Kelly, the Gallery's curator of American and British paintings. On view through June 11, 2000, the exhibition featured 52 paintings, 12 sculptures, and 10 works on paper belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Ebsworth. Included were works by Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler, Georgia O'Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Arshile Gorky, and other American modernists. Ebsworth began collecting in the mid-1960s while living in Europe for military service and traveling for his cruise-ship business. Although his early acquisitions were 17th-century Dutch and Flemish and 18th-century Japanese art, eventually the exclusive focus of the collection became American modernist works dating from the Armory Show of 1913 onward. An important collection required having only the best works of a certain period, and Ebsworth felt that modern American art was more accessible in terms of scholarship, more affordable than older masterpieces, and connected to the life of our times. He reveals the friendships, joys and rewards that grew out of the collection.

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Margaret and Raymond Horowitz, collectors, in conversation with Nicolai Cikovsky Jr., senior curator of American and British paintings, National Gallery of Art, and Franklin Kelly, curator of American and British paintings, National Gallery of Art. In honor of the exhibition American Impressionism and Realism: The Margaret and Raymond Horowitz Collection, on view at the National Gallery of Art from January 24 to May 9, 1999, the Horowitzes joined Nicolai Cikovsky and Franklin Kelly to discuss the history of their collection and its first exhibition since a 1973 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Forty-nine American impressionist and realist paintings and works on paper were presented, including works by William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, George Bellows, Maurice Prendergast, and William Glackens. In this conversation recorded on January 24, 1999, the Horowitzes share how their collection started with a few modest gifts, grew with the informal acquisition of drawings and pastels, and became a serious endeavor after their first painting purchase in 1961, a work by Robert Henri. From then on, the Horowitzes have exclusively collected American art. Making the most of their limited resources, the Horowitzes did not want to collect what was fashionable and turned to the work of American artists, which they thought was an overlooked treasure.

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Robert and Jane Meyerhoff, collectors, in conversation with Irving Blum, collector and co-founder of the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles. To celebrate the exhibition opening of The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: 1945-1995 at the National Gallery of Art on March 31, 1996, the Meyerhoffs joined Irving Blum to discuss the history and practice of their collecting.  On view through July 21, 1996, the exhibition presented 194 works, almost their entire collection of post-World War II art. The Meyerhoffs' acquisitions have been based wholly on their belief in the quality of individual works and not on any preconceived theory or plan. If they were passionate about an artist, they collected his or her work in depth. Their private residence has a room dedicated to each of the following artists: Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella. The collection is both a tribute to the extraordinarily high level of accomplishment by these artists and to the Meyerhoffs' intuition.

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Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, collectors, in conversation with Ruth Fine, curator of modern prints and drawings, National Gallery of Art; and Mark Rosenthal, curator of twentieth-century art, National Gallery of Art. New York collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel trace the development of their vast art collection in this podcast recorded on June 12, 1994 at the National Gallery of Art in honor of the exhibition From Minimal to Conceptual: Works from The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection. The Vogels began collecting art in the 1960s, a time that saw a new generation of artists respond to the abstract expressionist movement. These artists questioned the entire practice of art making, the nature of the art object, and how art functioned within society. By forming close personal relationships with the artists, a process that the Vogels describe as invaluable, they assembled one of the country's greatest and most extensive collections of conceptual, minimal, and post-minimal art with limited financial means. From Minimal to Conceptual was the first major showing of their collection at the National Gallery of Art and was on view from May 29 through November 27, 1994.