Donald Vogel arrived in Dallas at the beginning of World War II after a sojourn at the Art Institute of Chicago. “The feeling of space, its clear clean atmosphere, the calm courtesy of the people and promises of growth all gave hope to a young, would-be painter. What I could not have anticipated was that there would be no gentle growth: it exploded in every direction and the money followed.” Along with the wealth came East Coast art dealers who followed the oil field trails throughout Oklahoma and Texas. They brought dubious art and fake old masters, but the same growth that attracted disreputable dealers also made it possible for Vogel to be part of bringing fine works of art to Dallas, first at the Betty McLean Gallery and later at his own Valley House Gallery. In the words of Dechard Turner, “The Gallery opened the doors to the highest levels of sophistication in art. Not all entered, but the triumph of the Vogel story is that many did!” Already established as a painter, Vogel soon became the outlet in Dallas of art dealers in the United States and Europe. He has been an important part of the Dallas art scene for fifty-eight years.
”Memories of my uncle’s parting words, just fifty years before, echoed once again. He had inquired what I intended to do with my life. When I told him, he said, ‘Why don’t you do an honest day’s work, like get a job with the railroad in the gravel pits?’ ‘I am a painter,’ I answered.”—Donald Vogel