Doel Reed Landscape Print - Old House at Questa (New Mexico)
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Doel Reed
Old House at Questa (New Mexico)



Old House at Questa (New Mexico) original signed framed mid-century 1950s aquatint by modernist artist, Doel Reed (1894-1985). Black and white image of adobe buildings with a mountain landscape in the background, signed by the artist lower right margin, numbered 2 of 25 prints lower left margin. Presented in a custom hand-carved frame with all archival materials and museum glass (UV protection/anti-glare); outer dimensions measure 21 x 27 ½ x ¾ inches; image size is 10 ¾ x 17 ½ inches (sight). Illustrated: "Doel Reed: The Graphic Works" by Harry B. Cohen and Ann L. Rogers, page 63, plate 84. Early in his artistic career, Doel Reed knew he wanted to be a printmaker. Influenced by Goya's aquatints, he extended himself beyond his formal art training to learn this technique, and he established himself as one of its masters. For decades, he devoted himself to the art program at the University of Oklahoma, taking it from a faculty of one to a major mid-Western department. Upon retirement, Reed focused totally on his work, moving with his family to Taos, New Mexico, where they had previously summered. Marked by strong tonal contrasts, his landscapes of this region are deeply emotional renderings with a sense of mystery -- modernist forms combined with romantic moodiness. Born and raised in Indiana, Reed originally studied architecture, which he credits with a lifelong attention to "how something is constructed." His mature style can be characterized as architectonic in his concern with assembling volumes and planes. Even the intense northern New Mexico light becomes the means to articulate three-dimensional patterns into cubistic interplay. When painting, Reed used thick strokes of oil and casein as another structural element. Transferring to fine art, his studies at the Cincinnati Art Academy were then interrupted by military service in World War I. Suffering a gas attack in the trenches of France, Reed spent months in a hospital temporarily blinded. The effects of the gas also damaged his lungs, which later prompted him to live in the dry climates of Oklahoma and New Mexico. After the war, he returned to his studies, but it was discovery of Goya's aquatints rather than his art classes that inspired. Considered the master, Goya drew on the tonal range available with this medium to create powerfully haunting imagery. Perhaps Reed responded personally to the eloquent series "The Disasters of War." Now his course was set, and he built his own etching press, which he continued to use for the rest of his life. In 1924, he accepted a teaching position at Oklahoma State University, where he remained for thirty-five years. Emphasizing drawing, Reed encouraged students to go to nature and translate the scene through their own sensibilities. Beginning as the sole art professor, he developed the program when it became an independent department in 1930. Through his stewardship, the university gained a reputation as one of the best for printmaking in the country. During the forties, Reed also prepared a series of lectures and demonstrations on aquatint for the Association of American Colleges. His most public offering in art education is the book "Doel Reed Makes An Aquatint" (1965). Sabbaticals allowed him to visit Paris in 1926 and 1930-31. Summer travel took him to Nova Scotia and Mexico, but gas rationing during World War II necessitated a closer destination. Thus the Reed connection with Taos was established. Finally in 1959, he, his wife, and daughter moved there to Talpa Ridge, the same outlying area in which artists like Andrew Dasburg, Howard Cook, and Barbara Latham resided. Settling into a complex of three adobe buildings, Reed was welcomed by these artists, who referred to their community as Neurosis Ridge. Rena Rosenquist of Mission Gallery remembers that Reed was "the most affable man" who liked cold martinis. For Reed, the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains offered "end of abstract pattern." His inventive mind came up with techniques to transform a natural scene into a richly dimensional object. He fashioned a rosin box and concocted his own formula of etching ground to achieve a velvety texture with his prints. Described as "not for the faint-hearted,”" casein became a medium with which built up paint surfaces that almost seem sculpted. Both the prints and drawings are characterized by a tension between the two-dimensional surface pattern and the articulated space it conveys. In addition to landscapes, Reed produced a number of works of voluptuous women with the figures echoing landscape elements. As a boy, his first art experience was a grade-school field trip to the John Herron Art Museum (now the Indianapolis Art Museum), where he expressed his admiration for a painting of a nude mermaid -- an image that made a lasting impression. Reed was proudest of his recognition by the National Academy of Design (now just the National Academy). In 1942, he was named associate member; in 1952, he was named full academician. ©David Cook Galleries, LLC 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.


  • Artist
    Doel Reed (1894 - 1985, American)
  • Creation Year
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
  • Condition Details
    very good to excellent vintage condition
  • Dimensions
    H 21 in. x W 27.5 in. x D .75 in.H 53.34 cm x W 69.85 cm x D 1.91 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Denver, CO
  • Reference Number
  • Seller Reference Number
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5 / 5
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Located in Denver, CO
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