Various Artists - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • “And it was a realization that prints are original artworks, particularly when they were done by those printmakers. That was their own expression. Instead of using oil paints, they used copper plates and etching techniques and lithographic stones and sometimes silkscreen prints. But they did those originally. So that when I finally went into publishing prints, I wanted to make sure that the artist’s actually work on the prints, that I wasn’t doing reproductions of paintings.” —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

      Richard Lloyd 28 (Jones); Siri Engberg and Joan Banach 50 (Motherwell); Constance Glenn 16 (Rosenquist)

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Arman, Boom-Boom; Mary Bauermeister, Sketch for Tanglewood Press; Öyvind Fahlström, Eddie (Sylvie's Brother) in the Desert; John Goodyear, Two-Sided Movement; Charles Hinman, Print Collage; Allen Jones, Self; Robert Motherwell, Untitled; Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Print; James Rosenquist, Somewhere to Light; and Saul Steinberg, Sam's Art

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


New York International

The complete set of 10 prints, including screenprints, lithographs, and one offset lithograph with objects in various media, in colors and in black and white, on various wove papers and one on vinyl, with full margins and the full sheets, loose (as issued), including an additional Öyvind Fahlström collage on paper, with title page and justification, all contained in the original blue cloth-covered portfolio.
portfolio 23 1/8 x 18 x 2 in. (58.7 x 45.7 x 5.1 cm)
All signed, some dated and all numbered 1/225 in various media, additionally numbered '1' in blue ink on the justification (there were also 25 artist's proofs lettered A-Y), published by Tanglewood Press, Inc., New York.

Full Cataloguing

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $6,350

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023