Some of the features on this page require that JavaScript be enabled.
view previous artwork view next artwork
The Age of Power Steam Electricity Atomic
The Age of Plenty
Ernest Linder, Linder, charcoal, drawing, machine, power, mushroom cloud, atomic, steam, electricity, one-point perspective, lightning bolt, machine age, machine, robot, mechanization, industrialization, 2D art, two-dimensional art, energy, future,

These works by Ernest Lindner suggest a present and a future in which machines are the dominant force. Whether they have disastrous effects on the human population, as in The Age of Power - Steam, Electricity, Atomic or whether they are the population, as in the work The Age of Plenty, Lindner is implying terrible consequences for a reliance on machines.

Mushroom cloud In The Age of Power - Steam, Electricity, Atomic, we are given three examples of the generation of energy. The first of these, steam, is coming from a kettle, and that steam shows us a man at a large wheel. It is unclear, though, whether the man is turning the wheel or trying to stop it, as his body is braced against it but no direction is implied in this still image. For electricity, we see a large hand holding a lightning bolt, a reference to the Greek god Zeus, who was believed to throw lightning bolts as a way of punishing mortals, connected to a hand pushing a button. Notice that there are three buttons on the button box, and there is a question mark under the third button. This could correspond to the third power source Lindner has depicted, which is atomic (nuclear) power. This is represented by a large mushroom cloud, the same kind that results from a nuclear bomb.

start quoteI think part of the reason I didn't take myself too seriously was that I had a high concept of what an artist is...end quote
-- Ernest Lindner (Cherry Films 1974)

In The Age of Plenty, Lindner is suggesting a possible store of the future, it seems, since it has a robotic attendant inviting us in. The store, labelled "SURPLUS-GOODS," is full of boxes labelled "hats," "fur goods," "silks," "luxuries," and so on. This implies that none of these things are needed any longer, as "surplus" means things which are beyond that which is needed. Can we assume that this is because there are no longer any humans to need hats and luxuries? Where did they all go?

additional resources Dan Ring - On Ernest Lindner
Duration: 2:11 min
Size: 9290kb
Dan Ring - On Lindner’s Saturday Nights
Duration: 1:48 min
Size: 7692kb
Degen Lindner - High School Art Teacher
Duration: 1:14 min
Size: 5306kb
Degen Lindner - Lindner was in Love with Nature
Duration: 2:26 min
Size: 10292kb
Degen Lindner - Loneliness and Boredom
Duration: 2:58 min
Size: 12783kb
Degen Lindner - Saturday Nights
Duration: 2:58 min
Size: 2755kb
Degen Lindner - The Saskatchewan Arts Board
Duration: 2:21 min
Size: 9808kb
Ernest Lindner Cherry Films 1974
Things to Think About
  • Why might the artist have made a reference to Greek mythology, specifically Zeus? What does the lightning bolt represent in The Age of Power, aside from electricity?  What is Lindner suggesting with his use of the term "RELEASE of the GIANTS"? What is he referring to with "GIANTS" and what does this imply about our current condition?

  • Find out more about Ernest Lindner and his life. What experiences did he have that might have made him focus on the dangers of mechanization and industrialization in these works? What contact did he have with these things? While answering these questions, consider the time period Lindner was living in.

  • Lindner has used both the terms "plenty" and "surplus" in The Age of Plenty - one in the title and the other in the work itself. How might this be an  ironicUsing the opposite to express what is really meant or expected. Irony can also be something absurd or laughable that occurs when what happens and what might be expected to happen are opposites.  use of one or both of these words?
Studio Activity
Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

Connecting Lindner’s works

Write a story, poem, or song connecting Lindner’s two artworks, The Age of Power - Steam, Electricity, Atomic and The Age of Plenty.

  • Using The Age of Power - Steam, Electricity, Atomic as your beginning, fill in the events that might occur between the events depicted in that work and the scene from the future in The Age of Plenty.


Studio Activity
Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

Everyday energy

Choose an activity that you do on a daily basis that requires some form of energy from a source outside your body.  This could be using running water to brush your teeth, using a car to get to school or work, or using the lights in your home to see.

  • Find out more about this form of energy and the ways in which it gets to you so that you can use it.

  • Make special note also of how this energy is produced and ask if anything destroyed or changed in order to provide energy for your activity.



Anderson, Jack.  Lindner, Ernest Friedrich.  The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. 
Retrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 fromhttp://esask.uregina.ca/entry/lindner_ernst_friedrich_1897-1988.html

Author unknown.  ‘Famous landscape artist, educator.’  Saskatoon Star Phoenix, May 26, 2006.

Fenton, Terry.  ‘Ernest Lindner.’  Canadian Prairie Watercolour Landscapes.
Retrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 from: http://www.sharecom.ca/wc/lindner.html

Gouin, Judy.  ‘Lindner, Ernest.’  The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Retrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 fromhttp://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0004690

Heath, Terrence.  ‘The drawings of Ernest Lindner.’  artscanada, Spring, 1972.
Retrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 fromhttp://www.ccca.ca/c/writing/h/heath/hea022t.html

---.  Lindner’s Forest.  Exhibition notes.  Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1983.  Retrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 fromhttp://sputnik.sheridanc.on.ca/c/writing/h/heath/hea021t.html

---.  The life and art of Ernest Lindner.  Centre for  ContemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  Canadian Art.
Retrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 fromhttp://www.ccca.ca/c/writing/h/heath/hea023t.html

Saskatoon Library.  ‘Ernest Linder:  The Man behind the Brush.’  Portrait of the Artist SeriesRetrieved from the Internet on August 8, 2008 fromhttp://www.saskatoonlibrary.ca/pdf/Lindners.pdf

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning