Going Postal

Henri Rousseau painted his amazing jungle scenes while working  as a tax collector in Paris. Herb Vogel worked as a postal clerk and his wife, Dorothy, worked as a librarian as they managed to build an impressive art collection.

Labyrinth Books in Princeton will host a screening and discussion of the film Herb & Dorothy Feb. 23,  6 p.m. The award-winning documentary is about a couple who built one of the most important contemporary art collections in history on a postal worker’s salary. (Read Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton as background.)

In the early 1960s, Herb and Dorothy Vogel began purchasing artwork guided by two rules alone: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Over the years, they supported and befriended major artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle (artwork pictured above), Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi and Lawrence Weiner. In the midst of an art world seemingly ruled by money and elitism, the story of this genuinely visionary pair provides a different, more hopeful view of collecting and appreciating art.

Herb & Dorothy is directed by first-time filmmaker Megumi Sasaki. The film received the Golden Starfish Award for the Best Documentary Film and Audience Award from the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also received Audience Awards from the 2008 SILVERDOCS Film Festival and the 2009 Philadelphia Cinefest. Palm Springs International Film Festival named HERB & DOROTHY one of their “Best of Fest” films in 2009.

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