The following information was submitted by the artist's daughter Jonizo Cain-Calloway; it is based on records kept by her parents and her own knowledge:
Born in Henderson, Tennessee, in 1920, Joseph Alexander Cain served in the the United States Marine Corps during World War II, and after the war ended, he received both his BFA and MFA from the University of California at Berkeley with a major in painting and a minor in art history.
He was chairman of the Del Mar College Art Department in Corpus Christi, Texas, and had taught at Corpus Christi High School and W. B. Ray High School prior to joining Del Mar College full-time. He was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts in London in 1964 and served on the board of trustees for the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi.
Furthermore, he was an art critic for the Corpus Christi Caller Times for 19 years and also had articles published in Art Voices South, Ford Times, The Southern Artist, and The Texas Artist.
At his death in 1980, he was a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. During the Korean War, he had led a combat art team. He was once commissioned by the Marine Corps to do a World War II scene to be presented to General Mark Clark.
Cain received more than 250 awards in local, state, regional, national, and international exhibitions. His work has been shown in more than 700 exhibits throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and France. He had 150 one-man shows.
He exhibited his work in such places as Grand Central Galleries, Petite Gallery, Witte Museum, Laguna Gloria, Centennial Museum, Butler Institute of American Art, Ball State Teachers College, Brooks Memorial Gallery, Birmingham Museum, Cleveland Museum, Delgado Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of New Mexico, La Jolla Art Center, Pasadena Museum, and Provincetown. Other exhibits were held in Ligoa Duncan Gallery, New York City; Louisiana Art Commission, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Richmond Art Center; University of Oregon; Williamantic State College, Connecticut; and New Rochelle College, New York. The Old Bergen Art Guild had 18 Cain paintings on a two-year national tour.
His awards include the Gold Medal, Seton Hall University (1958); Mid-South Annual, Memphis (1956); Texas Watercolor Society (1951, 1958, 1960, 1965); Dixie Annual, Birmingham (1960); Southern California Annual (1961); the Grumbacher First Award, National Society of Painters in Casein; Philadelphia Watercolor Award; and Prix de Paris Show in Paris, France.
His work may been seen in the following collections: D. D. Feldman Collection of Contemporary Texas Art, Michael M. Engel, Grumbacher Inc., Minnie Piper Stevens Memorial Foundation, Del Mar College, Seton Hall, Goliad Library, Roserberg Gallery, and Incarnate Word College, San Antontio, Texas.
His biography has appeared in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Art, Men of Achievement, Outstanding Educators of America, Personalities of the South, Who's Who in the World, and Who's Who in the Southwest.
He was married to Mabe Cain and had one daughter, Jonizo Cain-Calloway.