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art studies

Nature Study (1929)
Anatomical Sketch (not dated)
Character study  (1932)
Marmion Corner (June 1938)
Art class at the American Academy of Art, Chicago (not dated)
At the drawing board in San Francisco (1938)
Truckfarmers (1940)
At the easel on the streets of San Francisco (ca.1939)
Coit Tower, San Francisco (not dated)
Self-portrait (1943)

Dietrich’s artistic training emanated from a variety of informal and formal sources. At an early age, he was captivated by the foreboding nature of the pine forest behind his home, with its vast and mysterious under story and wind whipping through the trees. These tangible elements stimulated his curiosity and imagination, eventually awakening his artistic sensibilities and prompting him to study the forest’s plant life. From there, an early interest in figurative drawing led him to explore anatomy, bolstered by books his father had given him containing drawings of the German masters. As his early childhood was focused on satisfying his artistic impulses, his teenage years were redirected to the practical necessities of earning a living. Between 1933 and 1935, he enrolled in commercial art classes at Welamson’s Art School in Stockholm. Two years later, his rehabilitation after a devastating train accident caused him to reconsider his future as an artist in Sweden and he left the country in February 1938 to attend the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Although he had been persuaded by its director to continue his studies in commercial art, not long after entering the program, he began skipping classes to immerse himself in the galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before the semester had ended, he had decided to leave Chicago and head west to pursue a career as a fine artist, eventually arriving in San Francisco, where he studied etching and dry point, an engraving process involving a steel needle and a copper plate. While these classes marked the end of Dietrich’s formal art studies, they served as a prelude to a lifetime of artistic exploration, inspired by works of the masters showcased in art museums and memorialized in art books, his observations of the world around him, and his passion to develop his own artistic vision, informed by a rich interplay of color and light through an Impressionist lens.

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