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Biography of Joe Downing
French-american painter Joe Downing was born in 1925 in Tompkinsville (Kentucky, United States). Inducted into the United States Army, he served in Europe during World War II. Later, he took classes at the Chicago Art Institute. The young artist lived in France in 1950 sharing his time between Paris and Ménerbes (Vaucluse), where he settled, late in the sixties. Joe Downing was one of the most authentic representatives of the abstraction « libre ». Through swarming forms, brighter and brighter over time, he developed a personal poetics about space, rhythm and color. Joe Downing was one of the artists defended by the Galerie Arnaud in Paris. In the mood of Saint Germain des Prés, painters, gallery owners, collectors, art critics form a village, as said Joe Downing. Over the years, on his canvas he set up an incredible puzzle where the pleasure of the colorist, unrestrainedly, expresses himself. Attracted by unusual formats, Joe Downing painted on ancient doors, windows, leathers. He realized several opera and theater sets (Compagnie Lyrique de Paris, Compagnie Barrault-Renaud). In1967, the museum in Brest organizes the first retrospective show, almost fifteen years before the one arranged by Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts in Kentucky (1982). In 1976, Joe Downing created decorations on porcelain for the « Manufacture de Sèvres ». A new retrospective exhibition was arranged at the Fine arts and History Museum in Metz in 1987. Joe Downing died in Ménerbes in 2007.