Saturday, June 22, 2013

Joe Dudley Downing

Recently I reviewed a mid-century abstract artist for Paul Fontaine captured my imagination, partly because of his work, but in many ways, I started to think about my own legacy. And artists in general, what do artists need to do to make sure their work, their voice, and their vision means something to people. It is clear that Fontaine's family believed in his work to make such an amazing webpage, a great book with scholarly writings, and have a good representation of his work in museums. 

Joe Dudley Downing is another artist that I have been look at because I he was from central Kentucky, kind of near Bowling Green, where I went to college. Downing in one of only three Americans that has show at the Louvre. He has shown across Europe and North America. One of his major collectors is lives in Bowling Green. He also owns one of my paintings. Downing live and worked in France.

Now although Downing had accomplished a great deal in his life, he never reach the heights of his contemporaries in New York. A whole group of artists making interesting work have not made it into the big art history books. The art history books seems to focus of just a few key artists for each period, but so many really good artists do tend to be overshadowed by a few collected by the major collectors and top museums. 

Well, time will tell if Joe Dudley Downing or Paul Fontaine gets rediscover by art historians. But, without people giving these artists a leg up through promoting them after their death, these artists may fade. Much like the Impressionist that took a bit longer to catch on, the mid-century abstract artists will fill a gap about the culture and moment in time when they lived.

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