Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Douglas Greenbowe studied at the Art Students League in New York with Frank DuMond. He held his first one-man show at age 18. During World War II, he served in the Marine Corps in the South Pacific. He began painting again in a hospital while recovering from wounds and did work reflecting his war experiences. For these depictions, he was honored at the White House by Eleanor Roosevelt.
In 1953, he became a member of the American Watercolor Society and also earned the National Art Club's Bronze Medal. He settled in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he taught and exhibited his paintings.
His work is in the Bank of Douglas, Arizona, the Dayton Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.