Doel Reed was born in Logansport, Indiana in 1894. He attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati from 1916 to 1917 and from 1919 to 1920. Serving in WWI he was temporarily blinded as a result of being gassed. After spending months in base hospitals in France, he returned to the United States and resumed his studies at the Art Academy, where he became interested in graphics. During the 1920s, there were few schools that specialized in graphics, therefore Reed was largely self-taught.
After 1960, Reed became an important figure of the Taos, New Mexico art community. He achieved an international reputation as a printmaker and landscape artist and a master of aquatint. His works are commonly earth-toned and geometric in style, at times featuring the architectural forms of the New Mexico landscape.
Reed was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1952. He wrote a book entitled “Doel Reed Makes an Aquatint”, published in 1965.