Morton Dimondstein Biography

Morton Dimondstein




Painter, sculptor, and printmaker Morton Dimondstein was born in New York City in 1920. After graduating high school at age 17 he enrolled in classes at the American Artists School, New York (1937-1939), followed by the Art Students League (1939-1941) where he studied painting, drawing, and printmaking with Anton Refregier, Herry Sternberg, and Kimon Nicolaides. His studies were interrupted by the Second World War, in which he served in the 387th Field Artillery Battalion.

After the war, he moved to Los Angeles to study graphic art at the Otis Art Institute (1945-1948). He would become one of the first artists to make and promote serigraphy as a fine art, appealing due to its accessibility to all collectors. He continued to paint and print, and he exhibited in both California and New York. In 1950 he traveled to Mexico City to study at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional under Jose Gutierrez and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and  he served as a staff artist for UNESCO in Patzcuaro, Mexico from 1952 to 1953. While living in Mexico, he was a member of the Taller de Grafica Popular.

In late 1953 he was given his first major solo show at the American Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City. He then returned to Los Angeles, securing a position as the art editor at the California Quarterly. Additional work included artistic collaboration on films such as William Wyler's "The Big Country" and Otto Preminger's "St. Joan". He also designed book covers for the Saul Bass advertising firm. Dimondstein quickly abandoned commercial art, however, and by the late 1950s he was focused solely on his own art.

In 1960 Dimondstein moved with his family to Italy, where he continued to paint and create fine prints while also learning sculpting. This would become one of his preferred mediums and by the late 1960s he was focusing almost entirely on large format acrylic paintings on paper and sculptures made from wood and polyester resin. These mediums were his primary outlet upon his return to the states and for the rest of his career.

Dimondstein taught drawing and sculpture at the University of Southern California from 1964 to 1958, and in 1963 he co-founded the School of Fine Art in Los Angeles with UCLA faculty member Martin Lubner. Teaching also took him to the Kann Art Institute, the New School of Art, and the University of Southern California. In the 1970s he began collecting tribal art from Africa and Asia and would establish a gallery in Los Angeles that continues today. He was a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists. Dimondstein died in 2000 in Los Angeles, CA.

Solo Exhibitions:
A.C.A. Gallery, NY, 1953; Galleria Penelope, Italy, 1961; Jaqueline Anhalt Gallery, LA, 1967-'72.

Group exhibitions:
Paintings by Martin Lubner and Morton Dimondstein, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA, 1960; 3rd International Biennial of Sculpture, Carrara, Italy, 1962; International Biennial Art, Palermo, Italy, 1964; Jaqueline Anhalt Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (dates unknown).

World Bank, Washington, D.C.; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Pushkin Art Museum, Moscow, Russian; Seattle Art Museum, Washington; Portland Art Museum, Oregon.

Biography partially sourced from Papillon Gallery.