Tag Archives: school

The Collectors: Herb and Dorothy Vogal to Dr. Albert Barnes

My weekend Netflix Instant Play Party continues!!!


Saturday started with Herb and Dorothy. A documentary that tells the story of a postal clerk and a librarian who managed, with very modest means, to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. This is how it worked: Dorothy’s salary was for rent, bills, and food and Herb’s salary was for buying art. !!! They had two requirements when purchasing art: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. It’s such a fantastic story of the Vogal’s shared passion and commitment that redefined what it means to be an art collector. I wonder if I could build one of the most important collections of “something” on my salary? Hmmmm?


Sunday I popped in The Art of the Steal. Another documentary that follows the struggle for control of Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ 25 billion dollar collection of modern and post-impressionist art. Barnes was an unusual collector. First, he displayed the collection in a way that expressed his own aesthetic vision rather than grouping canvases by artist or era as in a typical gallery. You might find a Picasso displayed next to an African mask. Second, he restricted attendance to the gallery because he was more concerned with educating serious students in his vision than reaching tourists. Third, he refused to loan paintings to other institutions.

Hurry and visit the Barnes collection in its original setting – at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. It is scheduled to move to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2012.

So, who wants to organize a trip to Merion this summer?