El Lissitzky - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  •  “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


    • Literature

      El Lissitzky and Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers 70
      The Russian Avant-Garde Book 146

    • Catalogue Essay

      El Lissitzky was a Russian avant-garde artist, designer, photographer, typographer, and architect whose work greatly influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist movements. His experimentation with techniques and styles went on to dominate 20th Century graphic design. Lissitzky designed this cover of Wendingen, an international Dutch magazine focusing on modern architecture, art, and design from 1918-1931. This issue was dedicated entirely to Frank Lloyd Wright with text by H.P. Berlege and numerous illustrations of the celebrated architect's work, including a photograph of the maquette for the Tokyo Imperial Palace Hotel. - Smithsonian Libraries

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


Wendingen Journal, volume IV, number 11

Lithograph in colors, on wove paper, printed on the front and back cover of the periodical Wendingen devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright with photogravures and text by Dr. H.P. Berlage, the full sheet, bound (as issued) with partial raffia sewn spine.
13 x 12 7/8 x 1/4 in. (33 x 32.7 x .6 cm)
From the hardcover edition of 75, published by H. Th. Wijdeveld, Amsterdam, 1922-23, framed.

Full Cataloguing

$1,500 - 2,500 

Sold for $1,651

Contact Specialist

212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023