Senator h.c. Manfred Bumiller began collecting Islamic art in 1980 – a time in which this art was not yet garnering much attention, meaning that the commercialization and its negative side effects, such as forgeries and a speculative price development, were not as widespread as today. Bumiller primarily invested in small pieces which oftentimes highlighted the everyday craftsmanship of their time. Through this, a comprehensive collection was brought together which allowed for the illumination and presentation of typologies, developments and tendencies of specific forms and objects.
He quickly realized that there was still a lot of pioneer work that needed to be done, especially in the field of Islamic art from before 1600. The collection’s main focus is on early Islamic metalwork, and today constitutes the biggest of its kind worldwide. At the same time, Khorasan was developing into a further focus of the collection – a historic region which experienced a cultural renaissance in the Islamic middle ages, and which today spans an area covering parts of Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and particularly Uzbekistan. In 2008, a partnership agreement to support research and education was signed with the Otto Friedrich University Bamberg, home to the only chair for Islamic art history and archeology in Germany.
The Bumiller Collection – University Museum for Islamic Art and its approximately 6,000 objects is situated in direct vicinity of the university, thereby allowing experts, professors and students easy access to the pieces. In June of 2015, the Bumiller Collection opened a branch in Berlin – Kreuzberg. Here the permanent exhibition “Highlights of the Bumiller Collection” alternates with various and diverse temporary exhibitions, among them the new and very popular “Contemporary Interventions in the Bumiller Collection” exhibitions series.
Vice President of THE BUMILLER COLECTION
Director Studio Berlin X-Berg