Art gallery spotlight: Omnibus Gallery
Strong on content and light on fluff, the Omnibus Gallery dubs itself the “finest gallery collection of original vintage posters ever.”
“What I have on the walls is a museum — I hear this thousands of times a year, and it’s not an overstatement,” says owner Goerge Sells. “It’s the best gallery I’ve ever been in. It’s really special, and really unique in the world of art; in terms of graphic arts, this is the motherlode.”
The gallery’s rare and vintage lithograph posters date from the late 1880s to just after World War II, depicting billboards, pinups, sporting events, film, automobiles, travel and anything else imaginable. The inventory is deep and the 3,300-square-foot space is “filled to the gills with really cool stuff.”
Admittedly, Sells is a bit of a slob and the gallery is disorganized, but he likens it to an “electrical, visual experience.”
Sells started collecting and selling vintage posters around 1981. He viewed the art form, known as “the art of the streets,” as a part of the human experience. It went on for about 125 years and it’s something to which we all can relate.
“We’ve all seen posters all of our lives,” Sells says. “This art form is in our DNA, it’s in our being. I believe that what I’m doing here is really important, that what I have here at Omnibus is really special.”
When he first started collecting, Sells said there were plenty of original posters available to buy. He used to have to budget what he could spend because there was such a massive supply. Now, there’s just not much left.
I have hundreds of images in here that are part of the collections in some of the major art museums in the world that carry this time period — it’s really satisfying,” Sells says.
Artists represented include the turn of the Century masters such as Charles Loupot, A.M. Cassandre, Ludwig Hohlwein and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, a visionary who believed that lithography was the art of the future. Sells has about 15 Toulouse-Lautrec posters, who he calls the “master” of this art form.
The gallery features about 6,000 posters, with another 2,000 in backstock. Prices range from $500 to tens of thousands.
Given the United States is in the throes of a constitutional crisis, now isn’t the time for debates over who’s pictured on American currency and who’s memorialized with a statue on public property, two prominent historians told an audience in Aspen on Saturday night.
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