Cool movie alert: 'Herb & Dorothy 50x50'

05:00 AM, Aug 02, 2013

Art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel are seen in the 2008 film 'Herb & Dorothy.' Herb died in 2012. Fine Line Media/


Written By by Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY

One of my favorite documentaries of the last several years is 2008’s Herb & Dorothy, a fascinating and touching portrait of art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel.

Directed by Megumi Sasaki, the film profiles the extraordinary couple that spent their lives purchasing artwork they considered interesting. Unlike most collectors, the Vogels weren’t wealthy — Herb worked in a post office — and they lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. However, they were passionate about art, and over the years they amassed an astounding collection of works by Picasso, Lichtenstein and hundreds of other well-known artists.

Their story hardly ends there: In the ’90s the Vogels decided to donate, not sell, their collection, which was worth millions. In 2008 they launched a program that donated 50 works to all 50 states — and yes, that’s a total of 2,500 works of art.

To my delight, Sasaki has made a follow-up film about the Vogels, Herb & Dorothy 50x50. The trailer brings tears to my eyes:

Sadly, Herb Vogel passed away last year. (I’m happy I got to see him at a film fest in 2008.) In recent weeks Dorothy and Sasaki have been busy promoting the new film, and the director has chronicled their travels on her blog.

The movie opens in several cities next month, and I can’t wait to see it. If you haven’t watched the first film, I highly recommend it.

To learn more, head to herbanddorothy.com, youtube.com/finelinemedia and @herbanddorothy on Twitter. The 50x50 project also has a beautiful website at vogel5050.org where you can browse all of the works.