Jean Tinguely - 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
    • Catalogue Essay

      Johan Wilhelm Klüver (1927 – 2004) was an electrical engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories who founded Experiments in Art and Technology. Klüver lectured extensively on art and technology and social issues to be addressed by the technical community. He published numerous articles on these subjects. Klüver curated (or was curatorial adviser) for fourteen major museum exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He received the prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award from the French government.

      In the early 1960s, Billy Klüver began to collaborate with artists on works of art incorporating new technology, the first being kinetic art sculptor Jean Tinguely on his Homage to New York (1960), a machine that destroyed itself that was presented in the garden at MOMA. He was introduced to Jean Tinguely by Pontus Hulten, then director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Robert Rauschenberg also assisted on Homage to New York.

      Klüver then worked on Robert Rauschenberg’s environmental sound sculpture called Oracle; and later with Yvonne Rainer on her dance in House of My Body. Klüver also worked with John Cage and Merce Cunningham on their Variations V, with Jasper Johns on his Field Painting (1964), and with Andy Warhol on Silver Clouds.

      Klüver, Fred Waldhauer and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman collaborated in 1966 organized 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a series of performances that united artists and engineers. The performances were held in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets as an homage to the original and historical 1913 Armory show. Ten artists worked with more than 30 engineers to produce art performances incorporating new technology. Early video projection was used in works of Alex Hay, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor and Robert Whitman.


Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


Lot offered with No Reserve

New Years greeting for Billy Klüver

Rubber stamp, ballpoint pen and collage drawing, on wove paper.
9 7/8 x 13 7/8 in. (25.1 x 35.2 cm)
Signed 'amitiés Jean Tinguely' and dedicated 'Hej Billy Klüver', 'I hope you are o.k. and that you have enough zing-zing', 'vive les pommes', and 'Bonne Anneé' in ink, framed.

Full Cataloguing

$600 - 900 

Sold for $1,397

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023