Donald Vogel Drypoints, ca. 1940
Well, these are prints that were in my house when I was growing up. My great-uncle Donald, he's the artist and they've been in the family as long as I can remember. When my mom moved, she said, "Do you want them?" I said, "Absolutely," because I'd been looking at them my whole life and I just love them.
What sort of family history do you have about your great-uncle Donald? Donald Vogel, by the way.
Uncle Donald was just a fun guy, had a full head of white hair, smiled readily, and really seemed to like my wife a lot, seemed to like my mom a lot. He was my grandfather's brother, you know, and he was fun to be around. He was an art teacher, he did a lot of watercolors, he did some sculpture, and of course he did these drypoints. They are very New York and they're very 1930s and '40s.
They're by Donald Vogel, not to be confused with another artist who is Donald S. Vogel and was born a little bit later. This Donald Vogel was born in 1902. Donald S. Vogel was born in 1917 and worked in a completely different vein from your great-uncle. His forte was beautiful women. Your great-uncle's forte was sort of gritty, urban New York scenes. These are all drypoints, as you said earlier. And drypoint is a very straightforward technique. It's made using a metal-- usually copper-- plate and the artist has a drypoint needle and scratches the design directly into the plate and those scratches create the design, the furrows, in the plate. The ink is rubbed onto the plate, a piece of paper is put on and run through a press, so it's pretty much the most straightforward method of intaglio printmaking that an artist can use. These prints by your great-uncle were made in the late 1930s, early 1940s. He's best known for these urban views, usually these sort of nocturnal views, crowded, a little bit uncomfortable, city scenes. The energy and the agitation of New York right in the action. That's what we most like to see with his work. They are all signed in pencil "Donald Vogel," and then each of them is titled down in the lower left. This one closest to me is “The Waiting Line," and you can see a group of figures here waiting on a sidewalk to get into a dance bar in New York. This one here is called "Picket Parade." It brings to the fore another theme in his work, which was a social consciousness for the workers, sort of the plight of the blue-collar worker in the city. And then this scene here, which I absolutely love, it's called the "Pullman Service," and what you have is a late-night scene, these three figures in an elevated subway car with the advertisements up here in the top of the car, and they're all asleep. Have you guys ever had any of the prints you have valued, or have you done any research on his value?
I saw his stuff listed in a couple of galleries in the, you know, mid-$1,000, $750.
He made about 30 different prints of New York, and these are among the top scenes I've ever seen by him. If they came up for auction, I wouldn't be surprised for each of them to sell for between $2,000 and $3,000. So overall, I'd say you have between $6,000 and $9,000 total.
Excellent. The rest of the family that didn't like his work will be surprised.
I'm very glad you have them, then.
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