Contemporary Discoveries

Contemporary Discoveries

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Thomas Downing

Untitled (The Dial Series)

Lot Closed

July 19, 03:16 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 USD

Lot Details


Thomas Downing

1928 - 1985

Untitled (The Dial Series)

oil on canvas

68½ by 68½ in.

174 by 174 cm.

Executed in 1960.

Vincent Melzac, Washington D.C.

Private Collection, Ohio (acquired from the above circa 1984)

Acquired from the above circa 2007 by the present owner

Youngstown, The Butler Institute of American Art, 1990-2021 (extended loan)

“The dot seemed right for me… the feeling of the actual painting of dots, of a gesture which was rhythmic and constantly oscillating seemed right. And the way a dot would isolate an instant of color and repeat it over a broad field gave the equivalent of an electric charge the surface would pulse and come alive.”

(Thomas Downing, A Quote from Thomas Downing Paintings 1961-1975, November 2015) 

Using his  best known motif of repetitive dots  in geometric patterns stained on unprimed canvas, Downing epitomized the Washington Color Field Movement, spearheaded by Kenneth Noland in the 1950s and 1960s and including artists Sam Gilliam, Anne Truitt and Alma Thomas. Downing exhibited widely in New York—he mounted solo exhibitions at Allan Stone Gallery in 1962, '67 and '68—Washington D.C., and Massachusetts. His work is in numerous public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.