Stephen Dimitroff Biography

Stephen Dimitroff





Stephen Pope Dimitroff, poet, musician, mural painter, printmaker, and lecturer, was born in Dobromirka, Bulgaria on 9 May 1910. His parents, Pencho Dimitroff and Tsveta N. Nenova, immigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in Flint, Michigan where Pencho worked in the auto industry. Stephen enrolled in night classes at the Flint Art Institute for three years. When he attempted to enroll in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he left in a fury when his credits for his night courses were not accepted.


In 1932, Diego Rivera was painting his Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Dimitroff showed up to watch the work and was eventually apprenticed after an assistant quit. He met Rivera’s assistant Lucienne Bloch and they worked together in 1933 on Rivera’s ill-fated fresco Man at the Crossroads in the lobby of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center in New York. Dimitroff and Bloch married on 7 September 1936 in Flint, Michigan.


During the Depression, Bloch signed up for work on the WPA Federal Art Project but Dimitroff refused to do so. They collaborated on seventeen mural cycles between 1948 and 1979, working in fresco, mosaic, acrylic, assemblage and oil, and they taught the art of fresco murals. They lived in Mill Valley, California between 1948 and 1965 and then moved to a farm in Gualala, California where Dimitroff died on 21 August 1996.


Dimitroff was a member of the Artist Union and Artists’ Committee of Action and, besides any existing frescos, he is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.