Various Artists - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I had a bunch of very nice artists that I worked with that, you know, I couldn’t hold forth any particular one as being a favorite. I could talk about other artists in the art world whom I thought were particularly generous and warm and wonderful. I mean like Tom Wesselmann. He was a wonderful man, a very generous and warm person. So was Lichtenstein. They were kind of very authentic people. I also sort of really enjoyed Andy Warhol. I loved talking to him because he had such a kind of fey way of seeing the world.” —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

      see Mary Lee Corlett p. 27 (Lichtenstein); Wildenstein Plattner Institute P661 (Wesselmann)

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Allan D'Arcangelo, Side-View Mirror; Jim Dine, Rainbow Faucet; Roy Lichtenstein, Sunrise; Claes Oldenburg, Baked Potato; Andy Warhol, Kiss; and Tom Wesselmann, Little Nude

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


7 Objects in a Box

The set of six multiples, including a chrome side-view mirror, sand cast aluminum multiple, baked enamel on steel multiple, cast resin multiple, screenprint on Plexiglas and a vacuum-formed Plexiglas multiple, all contained in the original wooden box with stenciled artist's names, titles and justification at underside of lid, lacking the George Segal.
box 21 1/4 x 16 3/4 x 12 3/4 in. (54 x 42.5 x 32.4 cm)
All signed, some dated and five lettered 'Q', the Wesselmann lettered 'A', incised and in various media, additionally lettered 'Q' in black marker at the underside of the box's lid (one of 25 artist's proof sets lettered A-Y, the edition was 75), published by Tanglewood Press, Inc., New York.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $29,210

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023