Skip to content


Thomas Downing: Blue and Gold -  - Exhibitions - CONNERSMITH.

Thomas Dowing, Blue and Gold, 1963, acrylic on canvas, 66.5 x 70.5 inches.


CONNERSMITH is pleased to present a SELECT view of Thomas Downing's  Blue and Gold (1963). This quintessential Downing grid possesses an impeccable provenance and holds a significant position within the artist’s oeuvre. 

Thomas Downing: Blue and Gold -  - Exhibitions - CONNERSMITH.

artist Thomas Downing

"At times I am convinced that to study painting is to find a key to the universe. It is an unceasing marvel to me how hanging a few well chosen marks up on the wall can make things move. In the best instances it is as though the flood gates are opened or the shade covering a window is lifted on a bright clear day. In some cases it is like a swarm of locust descending. 

The result in the more recent work is a new felicity of handling and a much larger choice and range of color. The grid seems to be such a firmly gripping breakdown of space that even larger spans of untouched canvas can be sustained. Such a drastic economy of means is allowed that fewer well placed marks function to release more color energy. 

Again one realizes the many attributes of painting the full circle. Such an economy is permitted that only a brush and a fair amount of caution is necessary to get the paint in place. Then too, I see that the touch of paint is as crucial to finding a color as is knowing what to mix. To be able to touch lightly and quickly but firmly contributes as much as anything to keeping the choice of color free. 

We are just beginning to deal with that incredible openness and fluidity of movement which nature demonstrates on every turn as the naturally preferred one. We all, one by one, constitute a center as valid as the next one and if there is any one overriding center it is so general and indistinct that it does not require anything more than unspoken acknowledgement. God is not dead - - only spread around more. It is not in one place but in all of them and the best we can do is look at the ones closest to us and hope to find some alignment balancing around this vague, uncertain oneness. "

Thomas Downing, letter to Vincent Melzac, November, 1972.*





* The full letter appears in the catalogue accompaning the exhibition "Thomas Downing, Origin of the Dot - paintings from the Vincent Melzac Collection" at CONNERSMITH, Washington, DC, September 2002.


Selected Works

blue and gold

Thomas Downing

Blue and Gold

1963, acrylic on raw canvas, 60.5 x 70.5 inches