John Ahearn – Open House
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
The Buhl Collection began in October, 1993 when Henry M. Buhl purchased Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe’s hands, entitled “Hands and Thimble,” 1920. Inspired by this picture, the Buhl Collection has since developed around the theme of hands and has grown to include over 1,000 photographs.
Encompassing a broad history of photography, The Buhl Collection has works dating from 1840 to the present and includes some of the most recognized masters of the medium, as well as lesser-known and emerging artists. The metaphorical theme of The Buhl Collection – hands, combined with the commitment to represent as many artistic styles as possible, has contributed to it being regarded as a unique example of the vast spectrum of 19th and 20th century photographic art.
From June to September of 2004, a major exhibition of photographs from The Buhl Collection, entitled “Speaking With Hands” was on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The exhibition then went on an international tour from 2005 to 2006 to venues including the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany and finally to Russia where it was shown at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Guggenheim published a catalogue that included 168 images from The Collection. In 2008, an exhibition of both photography and sculpture from The Buhl Collection, entitled “A Show of Hands” was shown at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. Currently, The Collection is touring with exhibitions in Korea and Taiwan and is expected to continue traveling throughout Asia.