Allan McCollum - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • It is fitting that the last lot from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman is a set of two inkjet prints from Friends and Family, a series by artist Allan McCollum. Aaron and Rosa Esman developed long lasting friendships in the New York art scene, this is evident by their vast collection spanning multiple decades that feature a multitude of works dedicated and inscribed to the couple. The series was a special collaboration between the Barbara Krakow Gallery and the artist. For one year the gallery and artist allowed people to commission an artwork with unique names.


    “And so for that first year, and only for that first year, the publisher allowed people to "order" unique names, and I signed them. We called this supplemental project Friends and Family! People would ask us to make one for every member of their family. One family even asked me to make one for their dog. I did it, I didn't want to hurt their feelings. Years later, one of these families had a new baby, and asked for a new print. We did it, but it was the last time!” – Allan McCollum


    “I think a good dealer is also a collector.”  —Rosa Esman


    Rosa and Aaron Esman assembled an outstanding collection of Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary art over the course of their seventy-year marriage. The collection’s highlights mirror that of Rosa’s career as a gallerist and print publisher (which Aaron, a psychoanalyst, strongly supported), with interests in Modernism, Dada, Russian Constructivism, and American Pop Art taking center stage. Rosa got her start publishing artists’ print portfolios in the 1960s, including the New York Ten Portfolio, 1965, and Ten for Leo Castelli, 1967, which featured works by rising contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg, and helped pioneer the field of artist’s editions and multiples. Her eponymous gallery exhibited in Manhattan for over twenty years, and she was a founding partner of Ubu Gallery, which is still in operation today.


    When asked about her wide artistic tastes in 2009, Rosa emphasized her love of drawing, “the quintessential bit of the art,” which can be seen across the collection, regardless of genre.


    The pair bonded over gallery visits when dating in the early 1950s. While Aaron already had begun collecting by then, the first work they purchased together was a drawing by Miró, early in their marriage. Rosa recalled: ‘sometimes we look at something, and I say, “Oh, isn’t that marvelous?”’ and Aaron would respond, ‘It’s for us.’


    Founded on lifelong love, the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman gives a unique vision of the art movements of the 20th century that shaped New York’s art scene.


    Rosa and Aaron Esman, Madrid, 1963


    • Provenance

      Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, Tampa
      Rosa and Aaron Esman, New York (acquired from the above, 2004)
      Thence by descent to the present owners

    • Catalogue Essay

      Friends and Family is a collaborative project originating from Allan McCollum's Each and Every One of You, a compilation of 1200 of the most common names used in the U.S. In this variation, the artist creates names of Friends and Family in collaboration with the collector. Each print is given a number in the order that it is printed. Duplicate names are also numbered to track multiple impressions. - Graphicstudio, USF, Tampa, FL

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


Lot offered with No Reserve

Rosa; and Aaron, from Friends and Family

Two digital inkjet prints, on Archival paper, with full margins.
both I. 3 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (7.9 x 13.3 cm)
both S. 4 x 6 in. (10.2 x 15.2 cm)

Both signed, titled, dated and numbered '(1)' in pencil, published by Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, Tampa, both framed.

Full Cataloguing

$500 - 700 

Sold for $1,651

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023