Thanks to Marty Wolpert for the following information.
Morton Dimondstein was born in New York in 1920 and at the age of seventeen, studied art at the American Artists School and then at the Art Students League in that city, having Harvey Sternberg, Kimon Nicolaides and Anton Refregier as his teachers. He served in the U.S. forces during World War II with the 387th Field Artillery Battalion and following the end of the conflict and his return to America, he moved to Los Angeles. He undertook further artistic instruction at the Otis Art Institute and became significantly influenced by Mexican murals, so much so that he was inspired to move to Mexico City where he remained for several years. In Mexico City, he studied further under the major Mexican painters José Gutierrez and David Alfonso Siqueiros at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional concentrating in particular on woodcuts. He also worked for UNESCO while based there. By 1953, he had returned to Los Angeles and was working as the Arts editor of the California Quarterly until 1956. He also had a brief tenure at the advertising firm Saul Bass who utilised his woodcuts and design skills for book illustrations and jacket covers as well as a few campaigns for Hollywood films. He is also believed to have produced some covers for Penguin Classics including "The Real Life of Sebastian Knight" and "Laughter in the Dark" by Nabokov. He forsook the deadline commercial world however to return to painting as well as teaching. He taught at the New School of Art, the University of Southern California and Kann Art Institute. His own work, distributed through small galleries and in stores in Los Angeles, were affordably priced and sold well. He is credited with being the first to produce serigraphic prints on the West Coast. Dimondstein moved to Italy with his family in 1960, remaining there for four years and it was while he was there that he became increasingly beguiled by sculpting and started to produce bronze allegorical figures and nudes which he had first formed in wax. Later, he turned to using wood and polyester as sculpture forms. He continued to paint however, exhibiting in Los Angeles venues such as the Fraymart Gallery and Jan Baum Gallery and won several commendations and awards including best one-man show at the American Contemporary Artists international competition in New York. His work was also shown at the Library of Congress and the Carnegie Institute. Subject matter for his paintings included portraits, nudes, jazz and blues musicians, landscapes - both rural and urban, often with a strong industrial theme and more bucolic scenes with figures in sun-drenched gardens or seated on terraces. He also painted a portrait depicting Anne Frank. He moved away from painting on canvas, preferring to paint in acrylic on paper and produced a lot of life-sized portraiture. The Los Angeles Times wrote of him in 1986 that he had "…a sure sense of composition...ability to exploit color as a formal device...and a free spirited feeling for improvisation" and also that he ignored "…changing fads and fashions, evolving instead within the ongoing Modernist tradition" Although he remained based in Italy with his family for several years, he had also travelled extensively throughout Europe and Africa from the 1950s onwards. His experience of Africa had fostered a deep respect for and empathy with, the tribal art of the continent and he collected widely. He became a renowned authority on the subject founding Dimondstein Tribal Arts in Los Angeles. He was invited to help organise the first major U.S. exhibition in New York of Bedak art from Sumatra and tribal art from the Enve Valley in Nigeria. Morton Dimondstein continued to paint well into his seventies before eventually dying on 27th November 2000 in Los Angeles. Bibliography:
Who's Who in American Art
Artists Blue Book - ed. L P Dunbier
Los Angeles Times