Miriam "Mimi" Dimondstein Biography

Miriam "Mimi" Dimondstein

American

1920-2010

Biography

Artist, designer, and writer Miriam "Mimi" Dimondstein (also known as "Mim") was born in New York, 1920, to Russian immigrants. When Dimondstein was a child her parents separated and her mother worked in a sewing factory to support her children, taking seamstress commissions on the side and eventually leaving the workshop to start her own dressmaking business. This inspired Dimondstein, who, taking courses in art and fashion at Washington Irving High School, hoped to become a fashion designer, taking her portfolio of dress sketches on job hunts.

Dimondstein moved to the West Village in the late 1930s and enrolled in William Gropper's class at the American Artists School, joining the Art Students League to take additional courses from Nahum Tschacbasov, Anton Refregier, and Anthony Velonis. An interest in puppeteering led her to the Youth Workshop (later the New York Graphic Workshop), founded by artists Jacob Landau, Antonio Frasconi, and Leonard Baskin, traveling throughout Wisconsin and Michigan putting on political puppet shows beginning in 1939. 

In 1942 she was awarded a scholarship from the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs to study lithography, and she traveled there with her new husband, fellow artist and activist Morton Dimondstein, then stationed in Colorado. They collaborated on various murals for the officer's club and other buildings on the base before Morton was shipped overseas with the 104th Infantry Division. On the heels of her husband's deployment, Dimondstein found advertising work in Los Angeles as well as animation work for the military, creating training films that showed different types of enemy airplane silhouettes so soldiers could recognize them from the ground. When the war ended she opened a framing shop with Morton, selling affordable art in the form of original serigraphs, and joined the Screen Cartoonists Guild in Hollywood. This led to production work with Graphic Films, Fine Arts Products, and assistant work with Ed Levitt, who later produced the Peanuts animated television series.

Dimondstein returned to the East Coast sometime in the late 1950s, following her 1948 divorce from Morton and remarriage to Sol Green. She settled in New Jersey and enrolled in theater, music, screenplay, and playwriting courses at Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research. In 1984, she traveled to Italy and visited the lithography workshop Edi Grafica Printers in Florence. Inspired, she tried her hand once more at the medium she had learned during the war. For one of her pieces produced at this time, a political commentary on American military forces in Chile, titled "Coup," she won the First Prize in Graphics at the Ringwood Manor Art Association's 19th Annual Exhibition. 

Dimondstein continued to paint and write until her death in 2010. Her work, which she signed variously under her mother's maiden name (Login) and her own, as well as MIM, is found in various private and public collections throughout the U.S. She exhibited broadly, including: the Library of Congress National Print Show, the Brooklyn Museum National Print Show; Raymond & Raymond Galleries (CA); Institute of Modern Art (CA); Oakland Art Show (NJ); Ringwood Manor (NJ); Ringwood Public Library; Valley Center for the Arts (CA); Los Angeles County Museum Print Show; Irving Savings and Loan Association (NJ); among others.