I’ve been going through some books on my shelves that I haven’t looked at for some time and came across a smallish book on the work of Richard Lindner, who was a German born (1901) painter who moved to New York during World War II. He taught at the Pratt Institute then later at Yale before his death in 1978.
His work was obviously a big influence on the Pop Art movement of the 60′s. If you remember the artwork for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film, you can easily see how Lindner’s work guided the hand of the film’s artist who most people think was Peter Max. However, the artist was Heinz Edelman . This misconception probably shows Lindner’s influence on Max as well. I also can see Lindner in some of Terry Gilliam‘s animations for Monty Python. The Beatles paid tribute to Lindner by inserting his image in the group of figures on the cover of their classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He’s between Laurel and Hardy in the second row.
I am really attracted to Lindner’s colors and use of forms. His colors have gradations and complexities that give his work added dimension. His shapes and lines are strong and sure. It’ demands an immediate response, even if it’s negative, and I really respect that.
One of my favorites is shown to the left here, FBI On East 69th Street. I have no idea whether he was influenced by Lindner’s work (although I wouldn’t be surprised), but when I look at this painting I can only think of David Bowie, especially in the early 70′s in the Glam era. Again, the strength of the color and shape,s as well as how his figures fill the picture frame, excite me. How I might take this excitement and make it work within my own work is something that remains to be seen. It may not be discernible but seeing work that makes your own internal wheels spin will show up in some manner. We’ll have to see if this comes through in the near future.