Lot 14: Ernest Trova
Falling Man Banner
Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Co, Inc and Multiples Inc., New York; fabricated by Abacrome, New York
Signature on label with edition
71" x 71"
Provenance: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Literature: Glenn, Constance W. The Great American Pop Art Store: Multiples of the Sixties. Santa Monica: Smart Art Press, 1997. illustrated p 27, #79.
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Amidst the 1962-63 New York City newspaper strike, gallery and museum organizers were unable to announce upcoming exhibitions. As an advertising solution, art dealer Robert Graham asked Pop artists to submit designs for felt banners to be hung outside of his Madison Avenue gallery. The results were overwhelmingly positive, so with the help of framer Barbara Kulicke, Graham organized a banner-making workshop called the Betsy Ross Flag and Banner Company. Multiple artists contributed designs, from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tom Wesselmann, to Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, and Robert Indiana. St. Louis’ Ernest Trova (1927-2009), another emerging artist who was steadily gaining traction in the New York art scene, contributed his iconic Falling Man design to the company. In 1963, Trova exhibited his Falling Man paintings for the first time at the Pace Gallery in New York, and throughout the 60s he replicated the dystopian representation of “man at his most inhuman” as sculptures and prints, some of which reside in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Falling Man Banner (1968) packs the flattened silhouettes into a “fallible modern humanity,” a pattern that represents man’s continuous march towards destruction. From 1997-2000, an example of this design was included in the exhibition, “The Great American Pop Store: Multiples of the Sixties,” that traveled to over ten museums, including the Toledo Museum of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Tietjen, Friedrich. “The Multiple as Label.” XCult.org. XCult Art & Communication. Web. 24 October 2012.