Conte crayon on paper, ink
Purchase through National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1974
Dimensions: 13 x 23
Using black and red conte crayon, Doel Reed composed this New Mexico landscape with fragmented shapes and energetic line work. This was a terrain that Doel Reed was drawn to, and this was the kind of land formations that drew Reed to move to Taos. With only the markings of the crayon and very little shading, Reed provided much information about the land and the vegetation of this area.
Doel Reed was an internationally respected artist of landscapes, a renowned printmaker, and was called a master of aquatint. He was one of the most influential leaders of Oklahoma State University's art department. Reed grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and began taking art classes at the John Herron Art Museum. This experience would spur a lifelong interest in the visual arts. Upon graduating from high school in 1912, Reed served as an apprentice architect for four years before beginning his studies at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1916. There, his education would be rooted in the principles of drawing and painting. During World War I, he left the academy to serve with the 47th Infantry. During this time exposure to mustard gas would result in Reed experiencing temporary blindness and a lifetime living with lung damage. In 1919, he returned to the academy. His interests began to focus on printmaking educating himself in processes he was not able to learn through the school. The following year, he graduated.
By 1924, his respiratory problems required Reed to move to a drier climate. It was at this time that he accepted a teaching position with Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Oklahoma State University. Reed quickly earned a reputation for being an excellent teacher and encouraging his students to go into nature to interpret what they saw through drawing it from their own perspective. This innovative approach to teaching alongside his students with his promotion of the graphic arts, specifically printmaking, brought recognition to the art department.
Reed traveled widely and internationally to enhance his knowledge of the arts, but World War II, and the rationing it required, would cause Reed to focus on the southwest United States. It was at this time his interest in Taos, New Mexico grew. Attracted by the landscape and the artists who had already relocated there, Reed moved to Taos in 1959 upon retiring.
Doel Reed's work was included in nearly 350 juried shows, and he was honored with more than 100 national and international awards and prizes.