Simanaitis Says

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AUTOMOTIVE TIRES are said to be “round, black and sticky,” yet they’re also objet d’art, especially when portrayed by some of the world’s greatest poster artists. What’s more, Bruce Halle, founder of Discount Tire Company, likely has the greatest collection of this art genre.


On Sale Here: Posters from the Collection of Discount Tire Company, published by the Phoenix Art Museum in conjunction with an exhibition of this name, March 10 through June 17, 2001, curated by Linda Marrie, catalog designed by Ted Nutall. Both this and the NAP edition cited below are listed at and

Discount Tire Company’s Scottsdale, Arizona, headquarters displays a rotating collection of poster art dedicated to the automotive tire.


Bruce T. Halle, founder and chairman, Discount Tire Company, art collector, philanthropist.

The company’s founder and chairman Bruce Halle started selling tires in 1960 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company now has 800 stores in 23 states.


E. Frock, Dunlop, c. 1920, 46 1/2 x 62 1/4 in. Borrowing the French Impressionists’ “luncheon on the grass” theme, this poster includes golf and tennis balls together with tires, all Dunlop products of the era.

What started 30 years ago as a chance purchase of a tire poster flourished into a collection of more than 350 pieces—and a collection curator as part of the Discount Tire staff.


Marius Rossillon, known as O’Galop, Le Coup de la Semelle Michelin, c. 1913, 61 x 42 1/2 in. O’Galop originated the Michelin Man with his 1898 “Nunc est Bibendum” image. Here, it’s time to kick-box, not to drink.

Halle is quoted in Forbes Magazine, October 10, 2011, about his first poster, an early Michelin one, and his early days of collecting the genre: “This one wasn’t really that expensive, and I thought, ‘I’ll buy it and hang it in the office somewhere.’ As I got into it, prices started climbing. I wondered why…. I was dealing with several brokers and, essentially, bidding against myself.” (See


Jules Alessandre Grün, Ferrés Gallus, 1901, 23 x 16 in. A gendarme asks a pretty Parisienne, “It doesn’t skid, does it?”

In the catalog Preface, James K. Ballinger, the Phoenix Art Museum’s director, notes that the dawn of the automobile at the end of the 19th century coincided with development of large scale lithography. The same artful coincidence occurred with the aeroplane, as shown by


Pierre Charles Delarue-Nouvelliere, Dunlop Ballon, c. 1922, 84 1/2 x 55 in. This wonderfully technical poster boasts its balloon-tire design as “at the track on a hollow rim.”

In 2002, Bruce and his wife founded the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation. Since both had lost spouses to cancer, the foundation began by establishing a pavilion at the Piper Cancer Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, dedicated to their memories. See for details of this philanthropic activity.


Theopald Schom, Excelsior Pneumatique, c. 1908, 27 x 38 1/4 in. Below, around Lago di Garda today (see


The museum catalog is published as a bound collection on postcard stock. A later publication, Posters from the Collection of Discount Tire, is in large format, 11.7 x 10 inches.


Posters from the Collection of Discount Tire, by Susan Driver, the Reinalt-Thomas Corporation, NAP edition, 2007.

The book was assembled by Susan Driver, Art Historian at Discount Tire.

How many tire shops are there with their own Art Historian? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2014

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