Richard Lindner was born in Hamburg, Germany. His mother Mina Lindner was American and born in New York as daughter of German parents.
In 1905 the family moved to Nuremberg, where Lindner's mother was owner of a custom-fitting corset business and Richard Lindner grew up and studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (Arts and Crafts School since 1940 Academy of Fine Arts). From 1924 to 1927 he lived in Munich and studied there from 1925 at the Kunstakademie. In 1927 Lindner moved to Berlin and stayed there until 1928, when he returned to Munich to become art director of a publishing firm. He remained in Munich until 1933, when he was forced to flee to Paris. Once in Paris, Lindner became politically engaged, sought contact with French artists and earned his living as a commercial artist. He was interned when World War II broke out in 1939 and later served in the French Army.
"The artistic universe of Richard Lindner is unique: he is highly genuine, he is full of urban energy, and he is driven by weird eroticism...Richard Lindner started his career as an artist eventually at the age of 40 in New York. In this metropolitan jungle Lindner created his oeuvre: exciting and powerful images of robot like figures, amazons and heroines, harlequins of self-styled heroes - his artistic panorama of the unruly 60s and 70s of the 20th century" (sic) (Claus Clement quoted in: Richard Lindner - Paintings, Works on Paper, Graphic - Nuremberg 2001). One of Lindner's paintings, "Boy With Machine," 1954, appears on the cover-leaf of Deleuze's Anti-Oedipus, and thus the image has formed part of many readers' introduction to Deleuze's later and more accessible philosophy.