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Flinsch Hands Behind Back

PETER FLINCH Beware of a Man with His Hands Behind His Back,1995 Ink and watercolor on paper 14 x 11"

LES IMAGES: The Art of Peter Flinsch

Sep 12, 2006 - Oct 21, 2006

By Douglas Blair Turnbaugh
from THE ARCHIVE: No. 20: Summer 2006

As in an epic fairy tale, our Prince Charming, Peter Flinsch, was a perfectly beautiful baby, born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Inevitably, a jealous Wicked Fairy spotted him and set out to destroy him. With spell after evil spell she pursued him. But our [gay] hero did triumphantly survive. “And that, my dear, is fiction,” our Oscar would have remarked. But this is a true story. Peter Flinsch is with us today, an heroic figure of strength and integrity, no hint of “victim” about him. An inspiration to those lucky enough to know him, he is a splendid man, handsome, virile, cosmopolitan, gracious, generous, witty and wise. (Am I in love?) Furthermore, he is an artist who brings to bear the genius of his life in his creation of homoerotic images.

Where did such a man come from? He was born in Leipzig, Germany, the city of Bach and Wagner, in 1920, in the luxurious bosom of wealth and cultural refinement. His father’s family was rich from paper and printing businesses in Leipzig and Frankfurt. His mother was a Thieme. Her family’s wealth came from banking and steel. These were not nouveau riche vulgarians. Grandfather Ulrich Thieme was a connoisseur of art whose collection of Dutch and Italian Renaissance masters, begun by his father, included work by Hals and Rembrandt. Ulrich also collected contemporary German art, and his portrait was painted by Lenbach, an international figure at the time. Some of this collection is now in the Leipzig art museum. He founded and financed the Thieme-Becker Kuenstler-Lexikon, an art dictionary of more than thirty volumes which is still in print today. When Flinsch was three years old his parents divorced, and thereafter his home was with his grandfather Thieme in Leipzig, and later in Chemnitz with his stepfather.