Ernest Trova Painting "SAN SAM" 1947
Ernest Tino Trova (February 19, 1927 – March 8, 2009) was a self-trained American surrealist and pop art painter and sculptor. Best known for his signature image and figure series, The Falling Man, Trova considered his entire output a single "work in progress." Trova used classic American comic character toys in some of his pieces because he admired their surrealism. Many of Trova's sculptures are cast in unusual white bronze. He began as a painter, progressing through three-dimensional constructions to his mature medium, sculpture. Trova was born on February 19, 1927 in Clayton, Missouri, where he attended Clayton High School and St. Louis University High School. His father, an industrial tool designer and inventor, died shortly after Trova graduated from high school.
His interest in poetry led him to begin a correspondence with Ezra Pound, who had been confined to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. after World War II.
He lived in the St. Louis area his entire life.
He worked at the Famous-Barr department store as a decorator and window dresser. A self-taught artist, Morton D. May, an art collector who later served as chairman of The May Department Stores Company (which owned the store he worked at), bought one of his paintings and contributed it to the Museum of Modern Art.
As a 20-year-old, his painting Roman Boy, the first work he exhibited in his career, was awarded first prize in the Missouri Exhibition conducted at what was then known as the City Art Museum (now the St. Louis Art Museum). Roman Boy described as a provocative "sexually graphic work", alternatively "scandalized or energized" critics and the public, and earned the work a picture in Life magazine, earning him a degree of recognition that was unusual for an artist from St. Louis.
He started showing his art during the early years of the Pace Gallery, which later became "one of the most powerful art galleries in the world". Some of his first art was acquired by the collections of the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as well as by the St. Louis Art Museum in his hometown and by the Tate Gallery in London.
Item ID: 00610
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