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Rosa Esman Gallery and Tanglewood Press Inc. records

Rosa Esman Gallery  Search this
Tanglewood Press  Search this
Darger, Henry, 1892-1972  Search this
Esman, Rosa  Search this
Gray, Eileen, 1878-1976  Search this
Rodchenko, Aleksandr, 1891-1956  Search this
Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987  Search this
16 Linear feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
circa 1922-2014
bulk 1972-1994
The Rosa Esman Gallery and Tanglewood Press Inc. records measure 16.0 linear feet and date from circa 1922 to 2014, with the bulk of the records dating from 1972 to 1994. The records shed light on two businesses operated by Rosa Esman through administrative files, artist files, exhibition and event files, sales and financial records, printed material, photographic materials, and several objects.
Scope and Contents:
The Rosa Esman Gallery and Tanglewood Press Inc. records measure 16.0 linear feet and date from circa 1922 to 2014, with the bulk of the records dating from 1972 to 1994. The records shed light on two businesses operated by Rosa Esman through administrative files, artist files, exhibition and event files, sales and financial records, printed material, photographic materials, and several objects.

Administrative files contain correspondence files, printed material, and inventories; photos of the gallery, Rosa Esman, and others; a few gallery blueprints; and pins and magnets from a collaboration between the Esman Gallery and artists Roy Lichtenstein, Gustav Klutsis, Lazar "El" Lissitzky, and Sol LeWitt. Artist files consist of resumes and biographical summaries, correspondence, pricelists, exhibition material, press packets, photographic materials depicting artwork and artists, and more. Artists include Eileen Gray, Lev Nussberg, Pascal Verbena, Helen Frankenthaler, Alexander Rodchenko, Sol LeWitt, Peter Boynton, and Jan Muller. Exhibition and event files contain price lists, loan agreements, correspondence, printed materials, and photographic materials. Included in this series is one file for an exhibition held at Knoedler Gallery that was in collaboration with Rosa Esman after she had closed her gallery. Financial records consist of sales books, consignment records, receipts and invoices, ledgers, and some appraisals. Tanglewood Press Inc. files contain correspondence files, financial records, order forms and receipts, photographic materials, press packets, mailers, a certificate, and some exhibition materials. Printed material consists of some miscellaneous postcards, exhibition announcements and catalogs including a binder of exhibition announcements. Photographic material consists of photographs, slides, and negatives of artwork displayed at the gallery. There are also a number of CDs containing digital photographs.
This collection is arranged as seven series.

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1973-2014 (Box 1-2, 16; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 2: Artist Files, 1920s, 1953-2011 (Box 2-8, 16; 5.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Exhibition and Event Files, 1971-2014 (Box 8-12, 16; 4.8 linear feet)

Series 4: Financial Records, 1965, 1977-2013 (Box 12-13, 16-17; 1.9 linear feet)

Series 5: Tanglewood Press Inc. Records, 1964-2003 (Box 13-15, 17; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1972-1994 (Box 2, 12, 17; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographic Material, circa 1970s-2013 (Box 2, 7, 8, 12, 18; 0.4 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Rosa Esman Gallery was established in 1972 in New York, New York by Rosa Esman. The gallery exhibited mostly twentieth-century American and European art in various mediums and styles, including pop art, European outsider art, Dada, constructivism, architecture, interior design, and Russian artists from the early twentieth century. Tanglewood Press Inc. was an art publishing company founded by Esman, and published thirteen limited-edition portfolios by a number of artists from 1965 to 1991.

With encouragement from Doris Freedman and Hans Kleinschmidt, Esman established Tanglewood Press Inc. in 1965 as a publisher of artists' portfolios. The first publication, New York Ten (1965), included artwork by Tom Wesselmann, George Segal, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Mon Levinson, Robert Kulicke, Nicholas Krushenick, Helen Frankenthaler, Jim Dine, and Richard Anuszkiewicz. Later publications included artwork by Andy Warhol, Mary Bauermeister, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Motherwell, Sol LeWitt, Jim Dine, and many others. The portfolio, "Ten Landscapes-Roy Lichtenstein (1967), was published in collaboration with Abrams Original Editions. Esman was contracted to work at Abrams Original Editions for a short period of time in the late 1970s. Esman and her Tanglewood Press Inc. were featured in the exhibition, The Great American Pop Art Store: Multiples of the sixties (1997-2000), University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, California.

Esman held a drawings exhibition of artwork borrowed from the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1972 in a space she rented for Tanglewood Press Inc.; she credited this as the beginning of Rosa Esman Gallery. Esman continued exhibiting in that location for the next several years, including a solo show of folded drawings by Sol LeWitt and Modern Master Drawings: Avery, Stuart Davis, De Kooning, Hoffman, Motherwell (1973). Esman moved her operation in 1975 to a building in midtown near the galleries of Tibor de Nagy and Virginia Zabriskie. Artists and printmakers shown at Esman Gallery during 1970s include Christo, Bill Fares, Tom Noskowski, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, Hannah Tierney, and Eileen Gray. In 1979, Esman began an exhibition series of Russian avant-garde art, The Russian Revolution in Art, 1-5 (1979-1983), featuring artwork by Kasmir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Lyubov Popova, and many others of the Russian avant-garde. Esman moved the gallery to SoHo in 1980. In the 1980s, Esman began showing European outsider artists Pascal Verbena and Henry Darger and held a group exhibition of outsider artists in 1986, Outsiders: Art Beyond the Norm. Other exhibitions in the 1980s included Art by Architects (1980), Architecture by Artists (1981), Curator's Choice: A Tribute to Dorothy Miller (1982). Later exhibitions featured artists Joseph Zito, Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaya, Eric Snell, and Carl Goldhagen; and group shows of Dada art, twentieth-century photography, and constructivism. After closing Rosa Esman Gallery in 1992, Esman entered a partnership at Ubu Gallery with Adam Boxer and Alfred Jarry.

Rosa Mencher Esman was born in New York, New York in 1927. She studied government at Smith College in Northhampton, Massachusetts. She went abroad to Europe her junior year, visiting museums in Geneva, Florence, and Paris. After college, she worked several jobs including a position in the art book department of Harper and Brothers and as an office administrator for Rene d'Harnocourt at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1957, she and a friend opened Tanglewood Gallery in Stockbridge, Massachusettes, showing artwork by artist-friends, utilizing the Museum of Modern Art lending service, and borrowing from the Downtown Gallery. The Tanglewood Gallery exhibited artists Milton Avery, Karl Schrag, Tom Wesselman, Alexander Calder, George Morrison, Robert Indiana, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Mervin Jules, and George L. K. Morris, among others. The gallery operated until circa 1960.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Rosa Esman conducted by James McElhinney, June 9-16, 2009.
The collection was donated by Rosa Esman in 2003 and 2014 and in 2023 by the Esate of Rosa Esman via Abigail Esman, co-executor.
Two folders comprised of Rosa Esman Gallery legal files, 1989-1991, in Box 15 are access restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Women art dealers  Search this
Pop art  Search this
Art, Russian -- 20th century  Search this
Outsider art  Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State)
Rosa Esman Gallery and Tanglewood Press Inc records, circa 1922-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Rosa Esman Gallery and Tanglewood Press Inc. records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
Online Media:

Möglichkeiten der Photographie = Possibilities of photography / Alexander Rodtschenko ; Redaktion, Krystyna Rubinger ; [essays by Alexander Nikolaewitsch Lawrentjew ... et al.]

Rodchenko, Aleksandr Mikhaĭlovich 1891-1956  Search this
Lavrentʹev, A. N (Aleksandr Nikolaevich)  Search this
Gmurzynska, Krystyna  Search this
Galerie Gmurzynska  Search this
Rodchenko, Aleksandr 1891-1956  Search this
Physical description:
40 p., [51] p. of plates : ill. ; 30 cm
Soviet Union
20th century
Photographers  Search this
Avant-garde (Aesthetics)  Search this
Art, Russian  Search this
Call number:
TR647.R685 G15
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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