Bowdoin receives a major gift from Vogels

In roughly five decades of collecting, Herbert and Dorothy Vogel became legendary figures in the art world.

Herbert, a postal clerk who never graduated from high school, and Dorothy, a reference librarian, used their modest income to acquire an estimated 5,000 artworks that once described as “worth incalculable amounts: hundreds of millions of dollars and climbing.”

The couple packed it all into their rent-stabilized, one-bedroom apartment in New York. Art filled closets and was piled under the bed and stacked high in boxes; they made room for more by clearing out a sofa and other furniture. Roaming around the artworks were several cats with names such as Manet and Renoir, and they had a menagerie of turtles and fish.

The Vogels ultimately gave most of the art away. But now the Bowdoin College Museum of Art has received a major gift of 320 works of contemporary art from the Dorothy and Herbert

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