(born October 8, 1948 in Vienna) is an Austrian-Irish fine artist, painter, photographer, installation and performance artist.
Helnwein studied at the University of Visual Art in Vienna (German: Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien). He was awarded the Master-class prize (Meisterschulpreis) of the University of Visual Art, Vienna, the Kardinal-König prize and the Theodor-Körner prize.
He has worked as a painter, draftsman, photographer, muralist, sculptor, installation- and performance artist, using a wide variety of techniques and media.
His early work consists mainly of hyper-realistic watercolors, depicting wounded children, as well as performances - often with children - in public spaces. Helnwein is concerned primarily with psychological and sociological anxiety, historical issues and political topics. As a result of this, his work is often considered provocative and controversial.
Viennese-born Helnwein is part of a tradition going back to the 18th century, to which Messerschmidt's grimacing sculptures belong. One sees, too, the common ground of his works with those of Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, two other Viennese, who display their own bodies in the frame of reference of injury, pain, and death. One can also see this fascination for body language goes back to the expressive gesture in the work of Egon Schiele.
The child in the works of Helnwein:
Gottfried Helnwein, Sonntagskind (Sunday's Child), 1972, 102 cm x 73 cm, watercolor, colored pencil and pencil on cardboard
Gottfried Helnwein, Beautiful Victim I,1974, 53 cm x 73 cm, watercolor on cardboard
Gottfried Helnwein, Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi), 1996, mixed media on canvas, 210 cm x 333 cm
Gottfried Helnwein, Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple), 1998, mixed media on canvas, 210 cm x 310 cm
Gottfried Helnwein, untitled,1989, watercolor on cardboard, for the play "Germania - Tod in Berlin" by Heiner Mueller
Gottfried Helnwein, Roter Mund (Red Mouth), 1978, 98 cm x 71 cm, watercolor on cardboard
Gottfried Helnwein, The Song I, 1981, 160 cm x 116 cm, watercolor on cardboard
Gottfried Helnwein, The Intrusion, 1971, 54 cm x 62 cm, watercolor, colored pencil and pencil on cardboard
Gottfried Helnwein, Poem 1, photograph, 1996
Gottfried Helnwein, Poem 11, photograph, 1997