"Serving collectors, businesses and the art community since 1881."

History of Excellence


Original invitation from 1923 to the opening of the Eitel Brothers new location on Upper Thrid Street. The Eitel Brother started their business in 1896.













Hand cut mat sign from Eitel's Framing.
eitels photo
Eitel's showroom, 1923

1947 Newspaper article from Eitel's 51st Anniversery.














Bresler Eitel Art & Framing Gallery

In 1882 Frank Durbin and Phillip Poposkey opened an art gallery, located at 729 North Milwaukee Street, in downtown Milwaukee. This classic building, which contains a majestic spiral staircase and print drawers built in to the walls, still stands. In the time that these two gentlemen ran the gallery, they had the opportunity to add rare prints and paintings from Frederick Layton's personal collection. Both men retired in 1889. At that time they relinquished control of the business to a Manitowoc native by the name of Frank H. Bresler, who logically renamed the gallery the F.H. Bresler Gallery.

The F.H. Bresler Gallery quickly became the premier place for Milwaukeeans to buy original art. This was due in no small part to the fact that the Bresler family made many art buying trips to Europe to enhance the gallery inventory. Frank Bresler died in 1931, and his daughter Gertrude took over the family business. She maintained control of the business until 1955, when she made the decision to sell the family business to John Seidel.

John Seidel continued to run the business in much the same way as the Bresler family had, by concentrating on keeping museum quality, high-art objects available to his clientele. However, eventually his interests had turned more to the appraisal of art, and less to the actual selling of art. In 1968 he made the decision to sell the business to the T.C. Esser company, a local paint company located in the 3100 block of West Gallina Street. The T.C. Esser company had earlier bought the Eitel Brothers Framing Gallery, located on 3rd. Street, also in downtown Milwaukee. The decision was made to merge the two companies, combining both the selling and framing of art. Thus the company officially known as the Bresler Eitel Framing Gallery was born.

On December 1st 1971, a gentleman by the name of Clive Buckley, of Buckley Cleaner and Launderers, 3110 West Gallina Street, walked across the street to the T.C. Esser paint company. Clive Buckley had inherited his family's dry cleaning business from his father in 1945, but after 26 years decided he wanted a change. Clive asked his neighbor if they had any businesses they wanted to "unload". When asked what he knew about art, he said "absolutely nothing", to which Esser replied, "Then I've got a perfect business for you..."

The following year Buckley made the decision to sell off the massive art inventory and concentrate primarily on framing. An auction was held on Sunday, September 24th, 1972, by the Fred C. Gerlach Associates. Among the 257 pieces of art listed in the catalog were pieces by Braque, Picasso, Warhol, Calder, Dufy, and Dali.

By 1974, Bresler Eitel Framing Gallery had outgrown it's space on Milwaukee Street. The decision was made to move the company to 777 North Water Street, just a few blocks away. This location contained a retail design area, inventory storage and workspace, taking up a total of two floors and the basement. Bresler Eitel remained at this location in the heart of downtown Milwaukee for the next 12 years.

It became inevitable that with the steady growth of the company, it would again outgrow its space. This, combined with Clive's desire for more convenient parking for his clients, led to his decision to build a new facility of his own design from the ground up. In 1986 Buckley bought a one acre parcel of land in the 500 block of West Walnut Street from the Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority. Ground was broken on October 30th, 1986 for the construction of a new, 12,000 square foot facility. By March of 1987 this building at 525 West Walnut Street had become the new and current home of the Bresler Eitel Framing Gallery.

Through the late 80's and into the early 90's Clive Buckley continued to concentrate on expanding his wholesale territory. He continuously added new mouldings to the line, offering both his wholesale and corporate clients an unrivaled selection of mouldings from around the U.S. and other parts of the world. Availability of these mouldings was immediate, in that the majority of them were stored on the premises, in a climate controlled enviroment.

In 1996, Clive Buckley had decided to retire. On October 18th, 1996 the business was sold to William Gray, the current owner and company president. The official anouncement was made on Wednesday, November 20th, 1996, in conjunction with Bresler Eitel's 115th anniversary. An open house was held, and among the many guests in attendance were Mayor John Norquist and members of the original Bresler and Eitel families. 

Mr. William Gray has continued the long and storied history of Bresler Eitel. He has added many new selections to the moulding line, which now numbers over 1,000 wood and over 300 metal mouldings. He has continued to add original art to the Bresler Eitel inventory, with an emphasis on regional artists. He is looking forward to guiding Bresler Eitel into the 21st century with a combination of old world craftsmanship, new technology, and unsurpassed service.



Bresler Eitel Art and Framing Gallery, 525 West Walnut Street Milwaukee Wisconsin 53212

414.374.7777 fax: 414.374.7976