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 Doel Reed  (1895 - 1985)

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Lived/Active: Oklahoma/New Mexico/Indiana / Mexico      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape and figure painting, aquatint, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
Doel Reed
from Auction House Records.
Adobe and Mesas
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Remembered as an important member of the Taos art community after 1960, Doel Reed achieved an international reputation as a landscape artist and printmaker, and as a master of aquatint. His paintings and aquatints were earth-toned and geometric in style and featured architectural forms of the New Mexico landscape.

He was born in Logansport, Indiana, and from 1924 until 1959, chaired the art department at Oklahoma State University. Then he moved to Talpa, near Taos, New Mexico where he and his family had been spending many summers and he had done and he did much sketching in Arizona and New Mexico, especially the countryside and pueblos near Talpa. His method of working was to sketch in the field and then complete the paintings in his studio.

He first pursued architecture but enjoying drawing, enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati from 1916 to 1917 and 1919 to 1920. He served in World War I and was gassed and temporarily blinded. After months in base hospitals in France, he returned to the Art Academy and became interested in graphics. However, in those days, there were few schools specializing in that subject, so he was largely self taught. In 1952, he was elected to the National Academy of Design.

He wrote a book, Doel Reed Makes an Aquatint, published 1965, and known for oils and caseins, he earned much fame from his aquatints.

An article titled 'Doel Reed Haunted by Nature's Moods', by M.J. Van Deventer, was in Southwest Art, August 1985 (p 58)


Dean Porter and Teresa Ebie, Taos Artists and Their Patrons
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Biographical Encylopedia of Artists of the American West

Biography from David Cook Galleries:
Born in Logansport, Indiana, Doel Reed was raised in Indianapolis. He originally studied and worked in architecture but his interest in art led him to enroll in the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1916.

His studies were interrupted the following year when he left for France to serve in Word War I. He was blinded temporarily after being gassed and spent several months in a base hospital in France. Following his discharge in 1919, he returned to the Art Academy where he studied for another year. While at the Academy, Reed studied under James R. Hopkins, H.H. Wessel, and L.H. Meaken.

It was under L.H. Meaken that Reed had his first, and only, formal training in the graphic arts. The artist developed an interest in the medium after he observed Meaken print from the plates of Frank Duveneck. There were few schools that taught the subject of graphic arts at that time so Reed began by studying the aquatints of Francisco Goya and later observed the techniques of fellow artists working in the field. The majority of his studies were essentially based on trial and error.

By the 1950’s Reed was considered to be a premier printmaker and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Design for graphic arts in 1952. In addition to printmaking, Reed worked regularly in several mediums including oil and casein.

In 1924, he began a thirty-five year long teaching career as the head of the art department at Oklahoma State University. His only extended absence from the university during that time occurred in 1926 and 1930-31 when the artist studied in France. Beginning in the late 1940’s many of his summers were spent in Taos, New Mexico, with his family. Following his retirement from the university in 1959, Reed relocated to Taos where he set up a studio.

Exhibited: Society of Independent Artists, 1927 & 1929; Society of American Etchers, 1930-1946; Kansas City Art Institute, 1932; “100 Etchings of Year,” 1932-44; Art Institute of Chicago, 1934, 1937, 1939; National Academy of Design, 1934-46, 1965 (Samuel Morse Medal); Tulsa Art Association, 1935 (prize); Paris Salon, 1937; Rome, Italy, 1937; Sweden, 1938; Chicago Society of Etchers, 1938 (prize); Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1940; Philadelphia Print Club, 1940 (prize); Venice, Italy, 1940; Carnegie Institute, 1941; Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH,1942, (prize); Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1942; Whitney Museum of American Art, 1942; Northwest Printmakers, 1942 (prize), 1944 (prize); Herron Art Institute, 1943; Library of Congress, 1944-46; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1944-45; Philbrook Art Club, 1944 (prize); Laguna Beach Art Association, 1944 (prize); Southern States Art League, 1944 (prize); “50 American Prints,” 1944; Oakland Art Gallery, 1945 (prize); Audubon Artists, 1945, 1951 (Gold Medal of Honor), 1954 (John Taylor Arms Memorial Medal); Albany Institute of History and Art, 1945; Pasadena Art Institute, 1946; London; Allied Art Association; National Society of Painters Casein; Mission Gallery, Taos, NM, and Blair Galleries, Ltd. Santa Fe, NM.

Works held: Carnegie Institute; Honolulu Academy of Art; Grinnell College; Library of Congress; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; New York Public Library; Oklahoma Art Club; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Philbrook Art Club; Seattle Art Museum; Southern Methodist University; University of Montana; University of Tulsa; Bibliotéque Nationale, Paris; Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Further Reading:Harmsen’s Western Americana: A Collection of One-Hundred Western Paintings with Biographical Profiles of the Artists, Dorothy Harmsen, Northland Press, Flagstaff, Arizona, 1971.

The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.

Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950, Dean A. Porter, Tessa Hayes Ebie and Suzan Campbell, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, 1999.

Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 3. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds., Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols.

Biography from William R Talbot Fine Art:
"First as a summer visitor to Taos and after 1959 as a resident, Reed explored “the canyons and mountain villages of the Sangre de Cristo range” in search of motifs. These he would later develop into immaculate aquatints in which velvety blacks and whites 'gleam as chalk marks on coal.'"
— Clinton Adams

Reed created studies in the field with crayon and ink, later using them to complete paintings and prints in his studio. In addition to his series of female nudes and pure landscapes, Doel Reed created scenes of adobe houses, churches, and chapels.

"His aquatints are . . . lit with an arbitrary light and shadowed with an impenetrable darkness, giving an effect somewhere between night and day in an unspecified timelessness. . . For his subjects, Reed focuses on the Spanish culture of the valley . . . and favors molded adobe walls—some only remnants—closed and silent. . . The aquatint is given a soft quality by the rosin sprinkled over the metal plate before it is exposed to acid. When the resulting design is printed, a myriad of little dots of ink seem to merge . . . Reed controls the etching process of aquatint masterfully . . ."
— Mary Carroll Nelson

Born in Indiana, Reed studied drawing as a boy at the John Herron Art Museum in Indianapolis. Following high school, he apprenticed with an architect for four years, after which he enrolled at the Cincinnati Art Academy, where Frank Duveneck and Joseph Henry Sharp were the on faculty.

During his service in World War I, Reed was exposed to mustard gas and suffered damage his eyes and lungs. Returning to the Academy in Cincinnati, Reed was inspired by Francisco Goya’s aquatints to study print making. Eventually, Reed’s health issues lead him to seek a dry climate and so he found a position at Oklahoma A & M College (renamed Oklahoma State University in 1957).

He was the first art instructor to be hired by the college and his expertise in printmaking distinguished the art department, which he developed. The artist spent two of his sabbaticals in Paris, where he came into contact with the vanguard of modernist art. During World War II, Reed began spending time in Taos and Talpa, New Mexico.

Upon his retirement in 1959, Reed made Talpa his home. Reed was elected to the National Academy of Design for graphic arts in 1952 and published his book Doel Reed Makes an Aquatint in 1965.

Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery Santa FeTucson:
Doel Reed is considered an important member of the Taos art community post-1960. Educated at the Cincinnati Art Academy, Reed served as the head of the Oklahoma State University art department from 1924-1959, with breaks in his tenure in 1926 and 1930-31 while he traveled in France, studying and sketching. He was elected to the National Academy of Design for his printmaking in 1952, and wrote a book entitled "Doel Reed Makes and Aquatint" in 1965.

A master printmaker, Reed's prints are reminiscent of Gene Kloss' work in their high contrast and expert use of light and shadow. He worked in a variety of mediums, but is best known for his prints, aquatints and casein paintings. His work is in the collection of the Carnegie Institute, the Honolulu Academy of Art, Grinnell College, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, the New York Public Library, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Oklahoma Art Club, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philbrook Art Club, the Seattle Art Museum, Southern Methodist University, the University of Montana, the University of Tulsa, La Biblioteque Nationale, Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, V:
Doel Reed
Born: Logansport, Indiana 1894

Taos painter, printmaker, writer, teacher

After working briefly in architecture, Reed studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati 1916-17 and 1919-20, the pupil of LH Meakin, JR Hopkins, and HH Wessel. From 1917-19, he served in WWI, was injured and hospitalized. Reed became a teacher of art at Oklahoma State University, remaining from 1924 to 1959, with 1926 and 1930-31 set aside for further study in France.

In 1959, Reed settled permanently in Taos where he had previously spent his summers. He sketches on field trips, completing the paintings in his studio. In 1967, he wrote “Doel Reed Makes an Aquatint.”

Resource: SAMUELS’ Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing

Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:
Doel Reed

Doel Reed was born in Fulton County, Indiana. He later credited visits to the Indianapolis Museum as a powerful force in the development of his early interest in the arts. After a brief study in the field of architecture, Reed entered the Cincinnati Art Academy. He served in France during World War I, after which he resumed his studies at the Academy.

His first interest was printmaking which was inspired by watching L.H. Meaken print from the etched plates of Frank Duveneck. Later he would become an undisputed master of the aquatint. He would also become recognized nationally as a painter.

Doel Reed had a long association with the Southwest, which spanned nearly sixty years. He served as Professor and Chairman of the art department at Oklahoma State University for thirty-five years. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1959 and moved to Taos the same year. Long before he had been visiting New Mexico summers and vacations.

He expressed his feelings for this region . . . “I have been in the Southwest for so many years that I feel definitely part of the region. The feeling of endless space of the great plains, the high mountains, the unlimited sky and clouds have been a great source of inspiration for the development of my own style which might not have materialized elsewhere.”

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Doel Reed is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Taos Pre 1940

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