Magnificent Obsession | Tuffy and Shirley Holland

Tuffy and Shirley Holland

Greeley, CO


Tuffy and Shirley Holland

What kind of artwork do you collect? Tuffy: I tend toward what Shirley calls “hard” or historical western art and landscapes of the West. Shirley: Most of the artists we have collected are the contemporary western artists. We have his, hers, and ours. My taste is more eclectic than Tuffy’s.

How would you describe your approach to collecting? Tuffy: We have no preconceived ideas. We get catalogs from shows and see if pieces interest us. If we both like it and my wife says it is good art, we buy it. My wife has the artistic skills. We look for works that impress both of us for their composition, subject matter, and the story being told. Then we determine if these qualities justify the cost. Following that, we think about where we would put it. But that is the last consideration, except in the case of large paintings.

How many pieces have you acquired over the years? Shirley: More than 300 pieces—paintings and sculptures.

How long have you been collecting? Tuffy: I started collecting Frank McCarthy prints in the 1970s. Our first original of any consequence was a Bev Doolittle in 1977.

How did you get started? Tuffy: I have always been interested in the Old West—cowboys, Indians, and gold prospectors. This led me to western prints. I went to my first showing of originals at a gallery in Scottsdale, and I was hooked. Shirley was drawn into the fold.

What was the first piece you purchased? Shirley: One of the first original western pieces we purchased was Howard Terpning’s THE MATRIACH.

What’s your most recent acquisition? Shirley: We recently purchased paintings by Michael Dudash, Bruce Cheever, Don Crowley, Krystii Melaine, Michael Godfrey, and Sallie K. Smith.

What’s on your wish list for the future? Shirley: We are awaiting a commission by Kyle Polzin. I am also interested in Kenny McKenna’s work and a larger piece by Michael Godfrey.

What piece do visitors comment on the most? Shirley: One of the most outstanding pieces, and the one most appreciated by other artists, is John Clymer’s portrait of a Spanish lady painted in 1934.

Is there a piece that got away? Shirley: Too many to count. There were two pieces by Carl Hantman that we wanted. While our attention was diverted by signing papers for the first one, the second one was sold.