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Dawley was commissioned to paint the official portraits of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton which were unveiled at the Vatican during her Canonization ceremonies, and were later displayed at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. He is represented in the collections of Notre Dame University, the Mayo Clinic, Windsor and Newton, and many other prestigious collections. He has been a featured guest on television shows and his work has appeared on the covers of publications including Down East magazine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
In 1977, Dawley opened his own gallery: The Joseph Dawley Gallery in Cranford, New Jersey. Five full-color books have been published about his art by Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, and Pittman Publishing & Sons, Ltd., London, the latest having been published in 1987 and entitled: Seeing and Painting the Colors of Nature.
During 1987 and 1988 Dawley was asked to travel, both nationally and internationally, to several cities to capture the local flavor with his Impressionist style. Also, early in 1988 two of Dawley's paintings were selected by Cartier jewelers to be used in reproduction as their Christmas cards. Several more were included for their 1989 line.