Is it the documentary or something else that provokes the spate of profiles of the Vogels and their art collection? The Telegraph has this profile covering all the familiar ground. Yet each telling of this remarkable story seems fresh again:
It took three months and five 40ft lorries to pack up and remove more than 2,500 pieces from their tiny apartment: priceless work by Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Richard Long, Julian Schnabel, Jeff Koons, and Richard Tuttle, among others. Only three works remained in situ, because they were site specific or too fragile to move (the National Gallery has since been back to collect one of these, a piece made out of yoghurt).
The art handlers took pride in their project of restoring the Vogels to what anyone else might call normal life: a bare apartment with space for regular furniture. There is a photo of the couple taken after the removal process; they are holding their cats, smiling, posing against a freshly painted white wall. However, this tabula rasa was short lived and the couple soon refilled the apartment. To thank them for their generous bequest, the museum had given them a small annuity, and the Vogels used this, and what was left from their pensions, to buy yet more art, which will also be donated to the National Gallery; they now own more than 4,000 works. They were too addicted to collecting to stop.
Christo, an artist known for appropriating vast unlikely packages, has called the Vogels ‘compulsive collectors, almost like alcoholics’, and the artist Pat Steir has said that they ‘bought work as though they were starving for art’. ‘Sometimes you get carried away,’ Herb admits. ‘You get into the psychological frame of mind.’ The Vogels’ habit is almost a form of art in itself; they live in the spirit of Picasso’s bohemian declaration: ‘I am the King of Ragpickers!’ [ . . . ]
They treated us like we were artists,’ Dorothy says of the people they collected, ‘I think we shared the same sensibility, feeling and approach to art.’ The artist James Siena describes them as ‘more like curators than collectors’.
The Vogel Collection: Thoroughly Modest Medicis (Telegraph)