Remembered as an important member of the Taos art community after 1960, Doel Reed achieved an international reputation as a landscape artist and printmaker and as a master of aquatint. His paintings and aquatints were earth-toned and geometric in style and featured the architectural forms of the New Mexico landscape.
Born in Logansport, Indiana, Reed studied architecture, but his interest in art led him to enroll in the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1916. His studies were interrupted the following year when he left for France to serve in World War I. Following his discharge in 1919, he returned to the Art Academy, where he studied for another year, receiving the only formal training of his career in the graphic arts. There were few schools which taught the subject at the time, so Reed began by studying the aquatints of Francisco Goya.
In 1924, he began a thirty-five-year-long teaching career as the head of the fine-art department at Oklahoma State University. Beginning in the late 1940's, many of his summers were spent in Taos, New Mexico, with his family.
By the 1950's, Reed was considered a premier printmaker and was elected to membership in the National Academy of Design for graphic arts. In addition to printmaking, he worked regularly in several media, including oil and watercolor.
Following his retirement from the University in 1959, Reed relocated to Taos, where he set up his studio and remained for the rest of his life.