(1928 - 1985)
Thomas Downing was born in Suffolk, Virginia. He studied at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He then studied at the Pratt Institute, a well-known art school in Brooklyn, New York, until 1950. That year he received a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, enabling him to travel to Europe, where he studied briefly at the Académie Julian in Paris.
In the late 1950s, Downing shared a studio with Howard Mehring, another artist of the Washington Color School and Color Field style. In 1964 Clement Greenberg included Noland, Mehring, Downing and others in his traveling museum exhibition called Post-painterly Abstraction.