were keepers of secrets. » He went on to picture a provocative American woman type, sexual and seductive yet predatory and narcissistic, wearing tightly laced garments and painted in garish and extravagant colors. How did Richard Lindner, a German émigré, come to be able to characterize this typology, which is so accurate in its distortion? What were the many factors that became dominant in his mature work, in which Valkyries, Lulus, Lolitas, and Justines became transformed into provocative Venuses of Times Square and Coney Island? How was he able to predict the Madonna cult of the last decades of the twentieth century?
Lindner was a man of moderate habits and behavior, yet he pictured women who display a highly exaggerated sexuality. He was quite short in stature and may well have feared the dominance of women, whom he depicted as fearful machines, both cold and secretive. In his fantasy world he remains the voyeur in a battle of which the little man is the victim.
Nuremberg, Berlin, Munich
In recollections that he communicated shortly before his death, Lindner referred to his mother as « not a very intelligent woman … a very potent figure … a Wagnerian woman…. Maybe she reappears in my pictures. » He recalled his father as a « nice man, » whom he was very fond of, but who was a coward. He left everything to my mother » He also spoke of an aunt as a « local beauty. » and of a handsome, mustachioed uncle.
Lindner was born in Hamburg, the great Hanseatic city also known for its grotesque red-light district, the Reeperbahn. But one cannot look in his work for metaphors of harlots of that city: Lindner, who was still an infant when his parents moved to Nuremberg, could not have been aware of the sexual games that transpired near the city’s wharf.
By the early twentieth century, Nuremberg had become Germany’s center for the manufacture of toys. Playthings would become an important part of Lindner’s repertoire. The