Scope and Contents
The Rosa Esman Gallery and Tanglewood Press Inc. records measure 16.4 linear feet and date from circa 1922 to 2011, 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.
There is a 3.0 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2023 that includes files on artists such as Alex Katz, Sol Lewitt, Vik Muniz, and others, and their works of art including photographs, CDs and slides; correspondence; financial records including exhibition lists and lists of works sold and returned, invoices, price lists, consignments, inventory; project files and conservation reports; exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1972-1986; writings; and an Imagine Peace rubber stamp (multiple by Yoko Ono) kept on Esman's desk. Materials date from circa 1972-2011.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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.
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 processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2022.