Self-taught painter and sculptor, Ernest Trova was born in Clayton, Missouri in 1927. Early in his career, Trova personally sought out painter Willem de Kooning and poet Ezra Pound whose dual influences heavily influenced his own developing practice and philosophy. Morton D. May, an art collector and Chairman of the May Department Stores Company, was the first to promote Trova, who was working as a May Department Stores window designer. In addition to providing Trova with a studio, May sponsored an exhibit of Trova’s works, bought one of his paintings and contributed it to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Created in 1964, The Falling Man, is Trova’s best known work. The series “about man at his most imperfect,” featured an armless human figure that appeared in sculptures, paintings and prints. Trova exhibited at the Whitney American Art Museum, Venice Biennials, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and St. Louis Art Museum, among others and was represented by New York’s Pace Gallery for more than twenty years. In 1975, Trova agreed to donate forty of his large sculptures to help establish St. Louis’s Laumeier Sculpture Park’s collection.
His works are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, St. Louis Art Museum and at the Tate Modern in London.