A Host to the Arts: St. Louis

As an auction house proud of its heritage, beginning and continuing its growth at the gateway to the west, it is always with pride we present pieces from artists who bare connection to the city of St. Louis.

"Yellow Man (Negative) 2002" by Ernest Trova.

Our November 2021 Modernism Auction boasts the work of several artists who hail from the St. Louis area, as well as from artists who have had themselves and their pieces find their way to the city.

Starting the auction are two pieces from glass artist Dale Chihuly who lived and studied in Washington state and had an eight-month Glass in the Garden exhibition here at the Botanical Gardens in 2006. Two of his works from the installation, “Walla Walla Onions” and the “Blue Chandelier” remain on permanent display.

Two other artists with sculpture installations in the area are St. Louis natives Ernest Trova and ‘Brother’ Mel Meyers. Before his passing in 2009, Trova had donated 40 of his works to St. Louis County, initially utilized for the inception of Laumeier Sculpture Park, with many remaining on display throughout the region. Similarly, several works from Meyers were installed to establish the St. Louis University (SLU) Ellen Clark Sculpture Park. Other works of Meyers including paintings and murals also decorate the campus and the surrounding area.

Several lots in the upcoming auction also come from art educators of the area. Hailing from Troy, New York, Charles Quest taught in St. Louis from 1929 into the 1970s, finishing his teaching career as a professor at Washington University School of the Fine Arts where he had also previously studied. While living here he also created religious works for local churches, including altar paintings at Trinity Episcopal Church and the Old Cathedral.

Rodney Winfield, another artist from New York who made his way to STL, also contributed to the religious iconography of the area. His stain glass work was commissioned for the Shaare Sekeek Synagogue as well and the Desolge Chapel at the SLU Hospital. Equally revered in a recreational space, his work can also be seen at The Sheldon Concert Hall and in the Marquette Gallery of SLU. From 1964 to 1990, Winfield taught as a professor of art at Maryville University.

In a different type of educational setting, Dhimitri Zonia, a first-generation St. Louis native born to Romanian immigrants, opened and lead his own studio after working as a professional artist, garnering a following of interested students. Like with Quest and Winfield, Zonia also left a legacy of religious works throughout the region, including ceiling murals at Oak Grove Mausoleum. At the age of 76, Zonia stepped away from his preferred medium and took a Photoshop class at St. Louis Community College’s Meramec location, where he then went on to create digital and mix media works showcasing his innovation and surrealist creativity.

As a home to troves of artists, designers and innovators, St. Louis ended up with a name for itself, one it wears with dignity.

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