Dinnerstein received a B. A. degree from The City College of New York and studied on scholarship at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. He received a Fulbright grant in 1970 and spent a year in Kassel, Germany, the city where the most advanced international art is brought together every four years for the famed Documenta exhibitions. Dinnerstein left Germany, however, with a high regard for the graphic precision of German Renaissance art and a respect for tradition that was reconfirmed during his years in Italy on a Prix de Rome. Dinnerstein, who teaches at the New School for Social Research, believes that art "should be accessible to the laborer as well as the university professor." He is primarily a painter of people, but literal transcription of the observed world plays only a small part in Dinnerstein's work; instead he paints a world of imagination, often depicting dreams in the skies above the real environments occupied by his sitters.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)