Weidenaar Exhibit (1994) (1994 – 2014) This exhibit features highlights from the Grand Rapids Public Museum's exhaustive collection of Weidenaar prints, as well as photographs, tools, and personal items related to the artist's life and work.
Through the Eyes of Weidenaar (2015) The Grand Rapids Public Museum is proud to present an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of internationally renowned artist Reynold Weidenaar. "Through the Eyes of Weidenaar" will showcase a large portion of the GRPM’s unparalleled collection of Weidenaar’s prints, plates, tools and personal effects. The collection, a majority of which was donated by Jay and Betty Van Andel, speaks to the history of Grand Rapids from the artist's unique point of view. Approximately 100 works by Weidenaar will be on display. The exhibition will focus on the art of printmaking and how Weidenaar incorporated local scenes, humor, and his own personal worldview into his art.
Reynold H. Weidenaar (creator) Reynold Weidenaar was born in Grand Rapids in 1915, the eldest of two children of a Christian Reformed minister. In 1923, at the age of 8, Rey found a drawing of a train on a pile of garbage. The simple line drawing of a locomotive speeding down the tracks caught his eye and galvanized his imagination. And while many 8-year-old boys might love to draw trains, Rey Weidenaar was really, really good at it.
What followed was an extraordinary artistic career that Weidenaar pursued with diligence and passion right up until his death in 1985. While the critical successes of Weidenaar’s career can be measured by the hundreds of awards his works earned, here in his hometown, “Rey” was well known for his trademark red beret and his often-sighted license plate which simply read, “ARTIST.”
Weidenaar saw himself and his work as a bulwark of sanity and realism in an art world that frequently leaned towards the sensational and the abstract. His role as an arbiter of taste for Grand Rapidians is perhaps best summed up by a quote he gave to the Grand Rapids Press in 1978, “Abstract art offends me, and the lifestyle of some abstract artists offends me.”Jay Van Andel (donor) Betty Van Andel (donor)