Reynold Weidenaar (1915-1985) was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute in the 1940's. Weidenaar was one of earliest people in the United States to rediscover and revive the art of mezzotint printmaking. He spent considerable time experimenting not only with techniques, but also in designing and hand-making the tools he used to create his prints.
In 1944 he received a Guggenheim fellowship followed by a Louis Comfort Tiffany scholarship in 1949. Also in 1949, he was elected to the National Academy. In 1950 the Society of American Etchers awarded him the John Taylor Arms Prize.
Partly as a result of these awards, he had the opportunity to travel, and spent considerable time in Mexico where he created some of his most important prints. 'Valley of Wrath' was his first color mezzotint, and was one of his most experimental pieces. Through his mezzotints and etchings, Weidenaar imparted an heroic aspect to a particular time and place in America in much the same way as Thomas Hart Benton did.