Manfred Bumiller

At the beginning of the 1980s, Manfred Bumiller (1928-2018), a business graduate, economist and later tax consultant, was thinking about starting an art collection. The idea of establishing a collection of early Islamic art came about in the fall of 1980 through contact with Professor Siegfried Wichmann, an art historian and specialist in 19th century painting. This drew M. Bumiller’s attention to the fact that there was no collector in Europe who specialized in early Islamic metal – a particularly appealing reason to establish a collection in this field. In 1981, he acquired the first three objects, which formed the basis for what was soon to become a sizeable collection: a brass bowl with a hunting motif, a gold-inlaid steel bowl and an incense burner in the shape of a lion.

Manfred Bumiller with daughter Jill Bumiller

M. Bumiller acquired the first object on the art market in 1981. He then concentrated mainly on small objects that reflect the versatility of metalworking in Iran and Central Asia. This resulted in a comprehensive collection, which was soon expanded to include other material groups. Particularly in retirement, M. Bumiller worked tirelessly on documenting and restoring the objects and developing his growing collection.

In 2002, Manfred Bumiller was made an honorary senator of Otto Friedrich University for his services to the university, in particular as a promoter of Islamic art history and archaeology. The cooperation agreement concluded with the Otto Friedrich University of Bamberg in 2008 is based on his initiative to promote research and teaching.

In 2015, Manfred Bumiller retired from the collecting business due to his age. Since then, the museum and collection have been managed by the Bumiller Art Foundation.