Arman - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “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 Esman (Left) and Aaron Esman (Center) with Arman (Right)

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


Lot offered with No Reserve

Le Naufrage de Méduse (The Shipwreck of Medusa)

The complete deluxe set of four etchings, on Arches paper, with full margins, folded (as issued), with text by Jean Ristat, accompanied by four duplicate etchings, on thin laid paper, with full margins, loose (as issued), all contained in the original blue cloth-covered portfolio.
all I. 14 3/8 x 11 1/2 in. (36.5 x 29.2 cm)
all approx. S. 22 1/4 x 17 3/4 in. (56.5 x 45.1 cm)
portfolio 23 3/4 x 18 3/4 x 1 3/8 in. (60.3 x 47.6 x 3.5 cm)

Signed by the artist and author in pencil on the justification page, additionally signed and dedicated 'Happy Birthday Aaron' and '"ce radeau" empty' and with an original black ink drawing, the etchings on Arches paper all signed and numbered I/XXX in pencil (the edition was 100 and 15 lettered copies), the etchings on laid paper all signed and numbered 'EA I/X' in pencil (artist's proofs, the edition was 15), published by Robert Lydie Dutrou, Paris.

Full Cataloguing

$800 - 1,200 

Sold for $381

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023