Rein Dool

Selfportrait 1979. Oil on canvas 90x80 cm. Photo by Willem Otten 1979

Rein Dool was born in 1933 in a working-class neighborhood in Leiden, the oldest university city in the Netherlands. He had a very domineering father who practiced the heavy profession of concrete worker and throughout his childhood, he challenged him to become a construction worker as well. When Rein was born, his mother – who always gave him a lot of love – was already 40 years old.

His primary school days were not a success. He achieved almost across the board bad result and had to redo three classes. Only the drawing lessons and school posters such as ‘Dutch infantry at the bridge over the Berezina in 1812’ had his intense interest. Dool discovered that he could manipulate everything in his drawings.

From the last years of his school days he frequented the Leiden museums, which were free to enter on Sundays. The National Museum of Ethnology and the Municipal Museum De Lakenhal were his favourites. In the Museum of Ethnology he became acquainted with Japanese drawing and printmaking. In de Lakenhal the paintings by Lievens, Van Goyen and the spectacles seller by Rembrandt (1623) made a deep impression on him. From 1946 he started drawing in the open air.

Man smelling a flower 1969. Oil on canvas 55×55 cm

After primary school, he started working at the age of 14 at the Photo Lithograph Company Koningsveld. During 4 years he received an excellent practical training and saterday-courses at the Amsterdam Graphic School.

After graduating in 1950, he resigned from Koningsveld and started working as a photolithographer for various companies. In his spare time he made free work.  In 1958 he won the national prix d’honneur of the Willink van Collemfonds for his watercolors, an incentive prize for young visual artists. Shortly afterwards, his work was exhibited in De Lakenhal.

Management consultant 1976. Drawing on paper 46×54 cm

From 1961 to 1963 he was a member of the famous Leiden painting and drawing society Ars Aemulae Naturae (founded in 1694) to further develop his skills. Here he attended the courses model drawing of Frederik Reitmann on Thursday evenings. Member exhibitions were organized every year.

Thanks to his artistic achievements and commercial talents, Dool was soon able to market his products well. An important buyer of his drawings and watercolors was the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency, which manages the art collection of the national government. Through its loan service, many of Dool’s products ended up at embassies and consulates around the world. About a hundred of these works are currently included in the collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Ir. Ernst Hijmans 1970. Oil on canvas 100×110 cm

Much of  Dool’s work is anecdotal in nature. In a style related to his artistic counterpart Co Westerik, he depicts childhood memories and events in his family life. Interpersonal communication and social isolation are important features in his work. He knows how to portray the inability to really reach each other in an unparalleled way.

Board of Curators Leiden University 1977. Oil on canvas.

Leiden University Collection

In the 1970s, his talent for drawing and painting portraits fully developed and he got assignments to produce oil paintings of ir. Ernst Hijmans (1970), the Executive Board of the University of Leiden (1977), the consultancy firm Nederlandse Organisatie Kring (1978), a self-portrait (1979) and the College of Mayor and Aldermen of Dordrecht (1979). The last painting was front page news in the national press media.

Sick man 1973. Oil on canvas 80×90 cm

From 1979 to 1989 he taught lithography and painting at the Royal Academy of Art and Design in Den Bosch. During that period he focused on lithography and watercolor painting. He developed a simplified direct style in which people and faces were only indicated with a few wavy lines and eyes with a dot. He used this style also for metal sculptures. In 1989 he received the ‘Jeanne Oosting Prize’ for his watercolors.

In 1993 he joined the European Ceramic Work Center in Oisterwijk where he applied the developed style in ceramic works.

Rein Dool has lived in a beautiful canal house in Dordrecht since 1977 and in his 90th year he is still busy with the production of new works on a daily basis.

College of Mayor and Aldermen of Dordrecht 1979. Oil on canvas 166×196 cm

Dool had exhibitions in the Dordrechts museum (1986, 1995 and 2012), the Gasunie in Groningen (1990), museum De Lakenhal (2003), the Teylers museum in Haarlem (2007). Further exhibitions are planned for the Dordrechts museum (from December 2022) and the Musée Fondation Custodia in Paris.

His work is included in the collections of Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Museum De Lakenhal, Dordrechts Museum, Teylers Museum, Literary Museum Den Haag, Stichting Beeldende Kunst Amsterdam, the corporate collections of Gasunie and ABNAMRO and in private collections at home and abroad.