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.