Various Artists - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • “It was op and pop. And it was just anybody who was around whom I liked and whom I knew.”
    —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

      Galerie Mikro 26 (Dine); Pegram Harrison 6 (Frankenthaler); Mary Lee Corlett 36 (Lichtenstein); Richard Axsom and David Platzker 33 (Oldenburg)

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including: Richard Anuszkiewicz, Diamond Chroma; Jim Dine, Self-Portrait (Zinc & Acid); Helen Frankenthaler, Air Frame; Nicholas Krushenick, James Bond Meets Pussy Galore; Robert Kulick, Dum-Dum Roses; Mon Levinson, Untitled #1; Roy Lichtenstein, Seascape I; Claes Oldenburg, Flying Pizza; George Segal, Woman Brushing Her Hair; and Tom Wesselmann, Still Life

Property from the Collection of Rosa and Aaron Esman


New York Ten

The complete set of 10 prints, including seven screenprints, one with varnish, one etching, one lithograph and one embossing with pencil additions, in colors and in black and white, on various wove papers and one on laminated plastic, with full margins and the full sheets, loose (as issued), with title page, justification, and text by Robert Rosenblum, all contained in the original mustard cloth-covered portfolio.
all I. various sizes
all S. 17 x 22 in. (43.2 x 55.9 cm)
portfolio 22 x 17 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (55.9 x 44.5 x 3.8 cm)

All signed, eight dated, two annotated 'Poleski/imp' and all lettered 'A' in various media, additionally signed by the artists in various media on the colophon and by the author on the text page (one of 25 artist's proof sets lettered A-Y, the edition was 200), published by Tanglewood Press, Inc., New York.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $15,240

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220


Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 18 - 20 April 2023