Gottfried Helnwein

(Vienna 1948)

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Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein is one of Austria‘s best-known, yet most controversial contemporary artists, known for his hyper-realistic paintings of injured and bandaged children. Recurring motifs in his oeuvre are pain, injury, and violence, and with his exploration of these issues, he also touches on social taboos and provocative topics.
Born in Vienna in 1948, he attended from 1965 the Höhere Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt with his friend Manfred Deix before transferring to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1969. In the following years, he caused controversy with his exhibitions, interviews and public actions involving children as protagonists.

In 1985 Rudolf Hausner suggested him to be his successor in the masterclass for painting at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He declined the offer and moved to Germany with his family. Since 1997 the artist lives and works in Tipperary, Ireland, and since 2002 he also runs a studio in Los Angeles.

Gottfried Helnwein‘s exhibitions repeatedly hit record attendance. His works have been shown in several major American museums, including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the Denver Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, but also multiple times in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Colombia, Serbia, Finland and Ireland. After the major retrospective at the Vienna Albertina in 2013, the museum will dedicate another large exhibition to him from 25 October, 2023 through 18 February, 2024.

Paintings of the artist are part of several museum collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Denver Art Museum, the Albertina in Vienna, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and found in private collections worldwide, including the collections of celebrities such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ben Kingsley, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Alice Schwarzer, Marilyn Manson, Reinhold Messner and Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

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