Thomas Downing (1928-1985) was a painter based in Washington, D.C., and Provincetown, Massachusetts, who was associated with the Washington Color School.
Thomas Downing was born in Suffolk, Virginia, in 1928. He received his undergraduate degree from Randolph Macon College in Virginia in 1948, then attended Pratt Institute in New York from 1948 to 1950. He traveled to Europe for one year in 1950 to 1951 on a grant from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
After serving in the military, Downing moved to Washington, D.C., for a teaching job in 1953. He enrolled in a course at Catholic University and studied art under Kenneth Noland, who was a major influence on his work. Downing later shared a studio with Howard Mehring, with whom he founded the Origo, a cooperative gallery that operated from early 1959 to roughly mid-1960. During the 1960s, Downing also taught at the Corcoran School, numbering among his students Sam Gilliam, Rockne Krebs, and Michael Clark. Although he mostly resided in D.C., the last ten years of his life were spent in Provincetown, Massaschusetts, where he died in 1985.