Nathaniel Dirk studied at the Art Students League with Max Weber and Kenneth Hayes Miller and in Paris with Fernand Leger. He taught at the Art Students League and lectured there on "Color for the Artist" from 1957 through 1960. Between 1927 and 1957 he had thirteen one-man exhibitions in New York. He was a Director of Artists Equity. He was formerly Director of the Contemporary Art Center the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association, New York City. He was president of the Cape Ann Society of Modern Art and a member of the Rockport Art Association.
He exhibited widely, with thirteen one-man shows in New York City alone. His work is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy of Design and the Art Institute of Chicago.