American painter of figure subjects, often of an erotic or enigmatic character. Born in Hamburg. Grew up in Nuremberg where he studied the piano at the Conservatory, then enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1928 spent a year in Berlin, returning to Munich in 1929 to become art director of a publishing firm. Left Germany in 1933 and went to Paris. Fled in 1941 to the USA, where he became very successful as an illustrator for magazines such as Vogue, Fortune and Harper's Bazaar. Began to paint seriously in the early 1950s; took a post as instructor at the Pratt Institute in 1952 and gave up commercial work. First one-man exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1954. His early pictures were inspired mainly by memories of Germany, including the tradition of toy-manufacturing in Nuremberg, the theatre (the plays of Wedekind, Schleminer's Triadic Ballet, etc.) and the German Expressionist cinema. After c.1960 he drew most of his themes from the vulgar, garish and fetishistic aspects of New York life. Painted full-time from 1965. Died in New York.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.446