Lindner was born in Hamburg and grew up in Nuremberg. He worked in Munich as an art director for a publishing firm until he was forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1933. After moving first to Paris, Lindner settled in New York in 1941, where he became a successful illustrator for magazines including 'Vogue' and 'Harper's Bazaar'. Lindner did not begin to paint seriously until the early 1950s. Having lived in Germany until the early 1930s, Lindner was strongly affected by the satirical art of George Grosz and Otto Dix and by the German dada movement. Lindner's paintings typically feature buxom, corseted women and enigmatic male figures.