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Ivan Dmitri


On this day, April 13, 1962, internationally renowned artist Ivan Dmitri became the third recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.

Born Levon West in 1900, he spent his youth in Glen Ullin and Mayville before graduating valedictorian of his high school class at Harvey, ND.

He first gained fame as an artist for his 1927 etching of Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St Louis. In following years he also developed an interest in photography, becoming a pioneer in the field of color photography. In order to separate his two artistic fields, Levon West began using the name Ivan Dmitri for his work in photography.

Dmitri’s color photography, etchings and watercolors have been exhibited in nearly every major art museum in the western world. Yet he concluded, “I could not have done the work…unless I had my North Dakota background upon which to draw for understanding.”

Written by Christina Sunwall


North Dakota State Government: Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Awards- http://governor.state.nd.us/awards/rr-gallery/

Lang, Joyce. “Jottings.” In Dakota Portraits: A Sentimental Journal of Pictorial History, Marion J. Piper (1964)