Monday, August 12, 2013

A bit about Trova

Recently, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a front page article (Sunday July 21, 2013) with headline , “Untreasured Trovas.” The article calls into question the care of the 40 works of sculpture by Ernest Trova. In defense of the park, I would make two comments: 1. The park has six (6) Trova pieces on display which are fine examples of his work. 2. The park owes a debt of gratitude to Trova, since the very existence of the park might not be without his generosity. The 40 Trova works gifted to the county in 1976 set the sculpture park on a course to become public-private foundation partnership celebrating monumental sculpture and contemporary art. Without this gift, the Laumeier Sculpture Park might not have been possible.

Today, there are six (6) Trova works on display at the park (including one from Grace Brod, given this year, posthumously). Nine or ten are in storage and the rest are on loan to a variety of places: The Missouri Botanical Gardens, Saint Louis University, City of Webster Groves, Webster University, John Burroughs School, Clayton Century Foundation, Central West End Association, Lewis & Clark Community College, GenAmerica, Winghaven and the Warren County Fine Arts Commission. The loans make it possible for people to view the work where it might not be practical to install, display and maintain at Laumeier.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ernest Trova was among the most widely acknowledged sculptors working in the United States. He was invited to exhibit in three Whitney Annuals, three Venice Biennales, and Documenta 4 in Kassel, Germany. In 1969 his work was heralded by the New York Times as “among the best of contemporary American sculpture.” Throughout those decades examples of his art were prominently displayed in dozens of major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Trova’s life-size bronze, Study/Falling Man (Wheelman), once greeted visitors at the Guggenheim’s 5th Avenue entrance, and for more than twenty years he was represented by the estimable Pace Gallery, which inaugurated its first New York space with an exhibition of his work.

Ernest Tino Trova (February 19, 1927 – March 8, 2009) was a self-trained surrealist and pop art painter and sculptor. Trova is a local success story. He was born here and attended Clayton High School and St. Louis University High School. Trova lived in the St. Louis area his entire life and has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

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