• Archival Collection #075 - Reynold Weidenaar
    This is a PDF of the archival collection's finding aid, listing the contents of the collection. Click on it to view.
Archival Collection #075 - Reynold Weidenaar
Archival Collection #075 - Reynold Weidenaar

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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Archival Collections ➔ Archival Collection #075 - Reynold Weidenaar

Archival Collection #075 - Reynold Weidenaar  consists of tools, photographs, materials, and illustrations, and personal artifacts relating to Reynold Weidenaar (1915-1985), a West Michigan graphic artist of national reputation. Personal artifacts in the collection include a red beret, a personal trademark of the artist, and an equally recognized State of Michigan auto license plate 'ARTIST' from 1985. There are 3 photos of the artist at work and 2 contact sheets of him in his studio. Also included in the collection are some 14 tools and materials he used, including a Castell Pencil Box signed by the artist, engraving tools, a chasing hammer, a rocker, burnisher, roulette, scrapers, etc. There are 20 illustrations by the artist depicting the tools, materials and processes of print making. There are also a set of tests used in print making including aquatint tests, messotint sharpening test, tone test, and rocker tests.

This collection assists in the documentation and interpretation of Reynold Weidenaar, a West Michigan graphic artist. Of national repute, Weidenaar relied heavily on the people and the landscapes of West Michigan as subjects for his works. This artistic documentation of the changing social, cultural, and artchitectural environment of West Michigan can be useful in a broad range of exhibitions and museum programs.

A full listing of the contents of this collection can be found in the finding aid that is attached to the media section of this catalog entry.
1915 – 1985
Gift Of Carla Collins And Paula Weidenaar Graf In Memory Of Their Father, Reynold H. Weidenaar Reynold H. Weidenaar

Reynold H. Weidenaar
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.”

Paula Weidenaar Graf