Josef Albers - 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 and Aaron Esman, Madrid, 1963


    • Provenance

      Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
      Rosa and Aaron Esman, New York (acquired from the above, 1963)
      Thence by descent to the present owners

    • Literature

      Brenda Danilowitz 156.1-156.10

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Wide Light; Thaw; Tenuous; Equivocal; Patina; Full; Shielded; Aura; Reserved; and Joy

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


Hommage to the Square: Ten Works by Josef Albers (D. 156)

The complete set of 10 screenprints in colors (bright and fresh), on Mohawk Superfine Bristol paper, with full margins, loose (as issued), contained in the original paper folders, with title, text, and justification pages, accompanied by an original black and white photograph of the artist by Arnold Newman signed and titled in pencil, all contained in the original cream linen-covered portfolio case and black card slipcase.
all I. 11 x 11 in. (27.9 x 27.9 cm)
all S. 17 x 17 in. (43.2 x 43.2 cm)
slipcase 18 x 17 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. (45.7 x 44.5 x 3.2 cm)

Signed with initials in black ink on the title page and numbered 183/250 in black ballpoint ink on the justification, published by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven, Connecticut.

Full Cataloguing

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $95,250

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023