Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective
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A Retrospective Debuts at GRAM this Fall


Largest and most comprehensive exhibition of Weidenaar’s work in over three decades


GRAND RAPIDS, MI, August 18, 2015 – The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) is proud to announce its Fall 2015 exhibition—Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective—which will be on view from October 25, 2015 through January 17, 2016.
This retrospective exhibition of prints, watercolors, and oil paintings by Grand Rapids native Reynold Weidenaar (1915 – 1985) celebrates his varied and remarkable career on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Nationally recognized and locally beloved, Weidenaar is one of West Michigan’s most acclaimed and talented artists.
“Reynold Weidenaar deserves to be widely recognized for his place within the trajectory of American art, and GRAM’s exhibition, publications, and collaborative programs aim to achieve this goal,” explained Dana Friis-Hansen, Director & CEO. “Known around Grand Rapids for his ubiquitous sketchpad and red beret, visitors will enjoy exploring the drawings, prints, watercolors, and paintings that he created between 1932 and 1982, as nearby as Monroe Avenue and as far away as rural Mexico.”  
Weidenaar’s work is timeless, yet rooted in 20th century American Regionalism, a movement devoted to accurately representing small town and rural life. Reflecting on his career in a 1980 interview Weidenaar said, “I love to record the world around me, and that world is Michigan.” His work depicts West Michigan through a uniquely personal perspective and historical context, and his deep familiarity with the region’s people and places provided him with a wealth of subject matter to explore. 
Talented, ambitious, and restlessly creative, Weidenaar repeatedly challenged himself to improve his skills and master new artistic techniques. He was known for his technical virtuosity as a draftsman and printmaker, and became successful in the 1940s exhibiting and selling his etchings. Though the technique was not widely practiced in the twentieth century, Weidenaar began creating mezzotint prints in the 1950s. These prints were especially well received, and his work in mezzotint helped to spur a renewed appreciation and awareness of this unique form of printmaking.
In 1954 he took up watercolor painting, and within ten years had created 1,300 watercolors of West Michigan subjects–delightful landscapes and industrial scenes that burst with life. Not content with having mastered etching, mezzotint, and watercolor, Weidenaar also applied himself to painting in oil, and to rediscovering the techniques of the Dutch and Flemish Old Masters.
Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective has been curated by Cindy Buckner, GRAM Associate Curator and co-author of the extensive catalog that accompanies the exhibition. Ms. Buckner will present the lecture Beyond Familiar Ground: The Artistic Journey of Reynold Weidenaar on Saturday, October 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm. Ms. Buckner will take visitors on a journey from his experiences as a young art student where he developed into an avid and innovative printmaker, to his experimentation with fantastical prints and paintings, and to his contentious relationship with the modern art of the 1950s and 1960s. This lecture is free with admission, and free for GRAM members.
“It has been a real joy to work on this exhibition and publication,” noted Buckner. “The opportunity to share Reynold Weidenaar’s immense talent with a larger audience is extremely gratifying. Visitors will recognize familiar West Michigan landscapes and cityscapes, and they will marvel at the intricate detail he was able to achieve. When observed up close, the viewer is able to appreciate the quirky and sometimes racy sense of humor captured in his work.”
GRAM joins three other Grand Rapids cultural institutions in celebrating Weidenaar’s centenary year. In spring of 2015, the Grand Rapids Public Museum presented Through the Eyes of Weidenaar, which focused on his self-designated role of chronicler of his community. Concurrent with GRAM’s retrospective are exhibitions at Calvin College’s Center Art Gallery and Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University. Calvin’s exhibition examines the artist’s working methods, including multiple states of individual prints, while Kendall College of Art and Design provides an overview of the artist’s work in drawing and watercolor.
GRAM has published a catalog of the same name to accompany the exhibition of Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective, which will be available for purchase in The Museum Store. The publication celebrates Weidenaar’s artistic journey and includes images of his celebrated mezzotints, etchings, watercolor and oil paintings, and drawings. In addition to this print publication, GRAM has also published Reynold Weidenaar: An Interactive, an iBook that explores the artist’s work through magnified details, archival material, and documentary photographs that call out the three major themes of the exhibition: Building a National Reputation, Upholding Community Connections, and Mastering Artistic Skills.
Drop-in tours will be held regularly on the following dates for guests to learn about Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective from one of the Museum’s dedicated docents. Drop-in tours are free for members and free with admission.
October 25, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
November 1, 2015, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
November 14, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
November 15, 2015, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
November 17, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
November 27, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
December 6, 2015, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
December 12, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
December 15, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
December 20, 2015, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
December 29, 2015, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
January 9, 2016, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
January 16, 2016, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
January 17, 2016, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Support for Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective is generously provided by The Meijer Foundation, Wege Foundation, Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, and Cate and Sid Jansma Jr., with additional funding provided by GRAM Annual Exhibition Fund supporters, Jim and Mary Nelson.

Use of press images must be accompanied by the full credit line, which is found in the individual image description.


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About the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Focusing on art, design, and creativity, GRAM provides diverse platforms for experiences, ideas, and dialogue that enrich the human spirit and build practical learning skills. Through dynamic exhibitions, collections, learning initiatives, and community collaborations, GRAM increasingly serves as a cultural beacon and civic anchor. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft.


Concurrent Exhibitions:

Claude Lorrain (French, 1604-1682). Departure for the Fields, 1638-1641. Etching on paper. Gift of Mabel H. Perkins, 1964.2.6

Shared Sensibilities: Weidenaar Among his Contemporaries and Predecessors
October 25, 2015 – January 17, 2016
Shared Sensibilities places Reynold Weidenaar’s prints alongside those of his predecessors and contemporaries, from seventeenth-century French and Dutch artists to his teacher and fellow regionalist, Thomas Hart Benton. Organized to complement Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective, this exhibition of works from GRAM’s collection presents the art of Reynold Weidenaar within the context of both modern and traditional American and European printmaking, showing where he drew inspiration in developing his skill and distinctive style.
© Ken Emly

Michigan Artist Series
Norwood Viviano: Global Cities
November 19, 2015 – February 7, 2016
Since the 19th century, artists have made the city and urban life a frequent subject of their work. A visual artist and educator with a deep interest in the social sciences, Norwood Viviano creates mixed media installations of sculpture, text, and graphic elements. Global Cities comprises a group of hand-blown glass sculptures, suspended from the ceiling, each of which represents an international city, such as Grand Rapids, Rome, or Beijing. The size and shape of these glass objects is determined by the city's age and population growth. The information on display throughout the installation ties together various cultural, social, and economic factors that have shaped the history and life of these urban centers.
GRAM Selects ArtPrize Seven: Encore
November 27, 2015 – August 14, 2016
GRAM Selects ArtPrize Seven: Encore will showcase some of the strongest works exhibited across Grand Rapids during the annual art competition. GRAM curators will be selecting works originally shown in various ArtPrize venues to be part of an exclusive extension of the ArtPrize experience at GRAM. Chosen for their artistic strength and resonance with the museum’s collection, works from ArtPrize Seven will be displayed among works in GRAM’s collection spanning many centuries, on all three floors of the Museum. Displaying contemporary works of art in and among the Museum's permanent collection will encourage guests to explore the unique and surprising connections between them. Chosen works will be announced at the conclusion of ArtPrize Seven, and will be on view by Thanksgiving weekend. 

Cia Segerlind
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Copyright © 2015 Grand Rapids Art Museum, All rights reserved.

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