Harvey Dinnerstein


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Born and raised in Brooklyn, Harvey Dinnerstein has committed his life to capturing on paper and canvas his city and the people who populate it with an empathetic realism that has garnered him critical acclaim and a loyal following. His formal art training began at the High School of Music and Art from which he graduated in 1946. He further spent two years during high school painting with Moses Soyer at his Fourteenth Street studio. Dinnerstein’s informal, and perhaps more lasting training, occurred during his daily commute, when he honed his drawing skills in charcoal and pencil while riding the subway from Brownsville into Manhattan and back again. After graduating high school, Dinnerstein took classes at the Art Students League, where he studied with Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Julien Levy, and, in 1947, enrolled in Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He established his first studio in 1950 on Fourteenth Street in Manhattan, sharing the space with his friend and fellow painter Burt Silverman. After being drafted into the Army in 1951 during the Korean War, Dinnerstein returned again to New York two years later to begin his career in earnest.

Dinnerstein had his first solo exhibition at Davis Galleries in New York in 1955 and has had a score of solo exhibitions since then. Throughout his long career, Dinnerstein’s pastels, paintings, and drawings have documented what he calls “the powerful visual language of this cultural legacy” in images that “combine aspects of naturalism, or incidental observation, with classical elements of form and structure.”

He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors since the 1940s, including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant; the Purchase Award from the National Gallery of Design, to which he was elected a full member in 1974; a Gold Medal of Honor from the Allied Artists of American in 1977; and an Honorary Doctorate from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in 1998. Dinnerstein has participated in numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States. His work is in the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American ArtMuseum of the City of New York, National Academy of Design, National Museum of American Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He further has been an esteemed teacher since joining the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in 1965. Dinnerstein additionally taught at the National Academy of Design and, since 1980, has been a professor the Art Students League. 

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