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Western Kentucky University

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

e-Newsletter, Fall 2011

Painting by Joe Dudley Downing donated to WKU

“And After All” by Joe Dudley Downing (1925-2007)
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“And After All” was donated to WKU by the Estate of Geneva Willen in care of her daughter, Barbara Gibbons, in March 2011. It was purchased by Kenneth and Geneva Carver Willen of Crystal Lake, Illinois. Mrs. Willen taught high school in Horse Cave, Kentucky; and Joe Downing was one of her students. He is the brother of the late Dero G. Downing.

The artist holds the distinction of being one of only three Americans to exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. His work has been exhibited in several countries around the world, as well as in many locations in the United States. Permanent collections of his art can be found in such museums as the Smithsonian Institute and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, in addition to WKU’s Kentucky Museum and Library.

Born in Horse Cave, Joseph Dudley Downing lived his last 40 years in the village of Menerbes, France. He served in the U. S. Army during WW II, where he visited Paris and fell in love with France. He kept an apartment and studio in Paris until his death.

Mr. Downing attended WKU and was encouraged by none other than Ivan Wilson. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute, after which he took a vacation in Paris and found he could not leave. His contemporary art style is abstract with brilliant colors done not only on canvas. He painted on animal bones, leather, terra cotta roof tiles, wood and other materials as well. Mr. Downing was also a writer and published two books of poetry and articles about the art world.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14