(born October 8
) is an Austrian
-Irish fine artist
and performance artist
Helnwein studied at the University of Visual Art
in Vienna (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.
A clarity of vision in his subject matter was emerging in Helnwein's art that was to stay consistent throughout his career. His subject matter is the human condition. The metaphor for his art, although it included self-portraits, is dominated by the image of the child, but not the carefree innocent child of popular imagination. Helnwein instead created the profoundly disturbing yet compellingly provocative image of the wounded child. The child scarred physically and the child scarred emotionally from within.
In 2004 The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco organized the first one-person exhibition of Gottfried Helnwein at an American Museum: "The Child, works by Gottfried Helnwein" at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. The show was seen by almost 130,000 visitors and the San Francisco Chronicle quoted it the most important exhibition of a contemporary artist in 2004.
Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic, wrote: "Helnwein's large format, photo-realist images of children of various demeanors boldly probed the subconscious. Innocence, sexuality, victimization and haunting self-possession surge and flicker in Helnwein's unnerving work".
Harry S.Parker III, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco explained what makes Helnwein’s art significant:
"For Helnwein, the child is the symbol of innocence, but also of innocence betrayed. In today’s world, the malevolent forces of war, poverty, and sexual exploitation and the numbing, predatory influence of modern media assault the virtue of children. Robert Flynn Johnson, the curator in charge, has assembled a thought-provoking selection of Helnwein’s works and provided an insightful essay on his art. Helnwein’s work concerning the child includes paintings, drawings, and photographs, and it ranges from subtle inscrutability to scenes of stark brutality.
Of course, brutal scenes—witness The Massacre of the Innocents—have been important and regularly visited motifs in the history of art. What makes Helnwein’s art significant is its ability to make us reflect emotionally and intellectually on the very expressive subjects he chooses. Many people feel that museums should be a refuge in which to experience quiet beauty divorced from the coarseness of the world. This notion sells short the purposes of art, the function of museums, and the intellectual curiosity of the public.
The Child: Works by Gottfried Helnwein will inspire and enlighten many; it is also sure to upset some. It is not only the right but the responsibility of the museum to present art that deals with important and sometimes controversial topics in our society".
Comics and Trivial Art
Another strong element in his work are comics. Helnwein has sensed the superiority of cartoon life over real life ever since he was a child. A magazine interview brought out an explanation of his obsession with Disney characters. Growing up in dreary, destructed post-war Vienna, the young boy was surrounded by unsmiling people haunted by a recent past they could never speak about. What changed his life was the ﬁrst German-language Donald Duck comic book that his father brought home one day. Opening the book felt like finally arriving in a world where he belonged:
"...a decent world where one could get ﬂattened by steam-rollers and perforated by bullets without serious harm. A world in which the people still looked proper, with yellow beaks or black knobs instead of noses." (Helnwein)
In 2000 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented Helnwein's painting "Mouse I" (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 cm x 310 cm) at the exhibition The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection.
Alicia Miller commented on Helnwein's work in Artweek:
"In 'The Darker Side of Playland', the endearing cuteness of beloved toys and cartoon characters turns menacing and monstrous. Much of the work has the quality of childhood nightmares. In those dreams, long before any adult understanding of the specific pains and evils that live holds, the familiar and comforting objects and images of a child's world are rent with something untoward. For children, not understanding what really to be afraid of, these dreams portend some pain and disturbance lurking into the landscape.
Perhaps nothing in the exhibition exemplifies this better than Gottfried Helnwein's 'Mickey'. His portrait of Disney's favorite mouse occupies an entire wall of the gallery; rendered from an oblique angle, his jaunty, ingenuous visage looks somehow sneaky and suspicious. His broad smile, encasing a row of gleaming teeth, seems more a snarl or leer. This is Mickey as Mr. Hyde, his hidden other self now disturbingly revealed.
Helnwein's Mickey is painted in shades of gray, as if pictured on an old black-and-white TV set. We are meant to be transported to the flickering edges of our own childhood memories in a time imaginably more blameless, crime-less and guiltless. But Mickey's terrifying demeanor hints of things to come....
Although Helnwein's work is rooted in the legacy of German expressionism, he has absorbed elements of
American pop culture. In the 70s he began to include cartoon characters in his paintings. In several
interviews he claimed: "I learned more from Donald Duck than from all the schools that I have ever attended." Commenting on that aspect in Helnwein's work, Julia Pascal wrote in the New Statesman: "His early watercolor Peinlich (Embarrassing)- shows a typical little 1950s girl in a pink dress and carrying a comic book. Her innocent appeal is destroyed by the gash deforming her cheek and lips. It is as if Donald Duck had met Mengele".
Living between Los Angeles and Ireland, Helnwein met and photographed the Rolling Stones in London, and his portrait of John F Kennedy made the front cover of Time magazine on the 20th anniversary of the president's assassination. His Self-portrait as screaming bandaged man, blinded by forks (1982) became the cover of the Scorpions album Blackout. Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali, William Burroughsand the German industrial metal band Rammstein posed for him; some of his art-works appeared in the cover-booklet of Michael Jackson's History album . Referring to the fall of the Berlin Wall Helnwein created the book Some Facts about Myself, together with Marlene Dietrich. In 2003 he became friends with Marilyn Manson and started a collaboration with him on the multi-media art-project The Golden Age of Grotesque and on several experimental video-projects. Among his widely published works is a spoof of the famous Edward Hopper painting Nighthawks, entitled Boulevard of Broken Dreams. This painting also inspired the Green Day song of the same name
Examining his imagery from the 1970s to the present, one sees influences as diverse as Bosch, Goya, John Heartfield, Beuys and Mickey Mouse, all filtered through a postwar Viennese childhood. 'Helnwein’s oeuvre embraces total antipodes: The trivial alternates with visions of spiritual doom, the divine in the child contrasts with horror-images of child-abuse. But violence remains to be his basic theme, - the physical and the emotional suffering, inflicted by one human being unto another.'.
The self-portrait for the artist's blindfolded unbent head covered with blood occurs twice in Helnwein's triptych The Silent Glow of the Avantgarde (1986). The middle panel shows an enlarged reproduction of Caspar David Friedrich's The sea of Ice, a depiction of a catastrophe of 1823/24 which is generally interpreted as a romantic allegory of the force of nature overpowering all human effort . Helnwein compared the "quietly theatrical" ecstatic attitude of his self-portrait with the heroic pose of the figure of the suffering figure of Sebastian and generalizes both to the stigma of the artist in the 20th century, making him a kind of saviour figure. In addition, its poetic title sets the viewer onto the right track. The visual montage of the modern artist as Man of Sorrows with Friedrich's landscape painting projects the dashed hopes of the romantic rebellion into the present, to the protest thinking of modernity, which has become introverted and masochistic, and its crossing of aesthetic boundaries. Is romanticism making a comeback? - No; actually, it had never left modernity. But its rebellion is confining and introverting itself in the "body metaphysics" of contemporary artists to its own flesh and blood. Thus, the comeback of romanticism leads for Helnwein, too, to stressing just one of its partial aspects, the stylizing in the form of a self-portrait of a protest introverted to martyrdom which historically was once linked in a contradictory way with social opposition, rebellion, and utopia..
References to the Holocaust
Mitchell Waxman wrote 2004, in The Jewish Journal, Los Angeles: "The most powerful images that deal with Nazism and Holocaust themes are by Anselm Kiefer and Helnwein, although, Kiefer’s work differs considerably from Helnwein’s in his concern with the effect of German aggression on the national psyche and the complexities of German cultural heritage. Kiefer is known for evocative and soulful images of barren German landscapes. But Kiefer and Helnwein’s work are both informed by the personal experience of growing up in a post-war German speaking country...
William Burroughs said that the American revolution begins in books and music, and political operatives implement the changes after the fact. To this maybe we can add art. And Helnwein's art might have the capacity to instigate change by piercing the veil of political correctness to recapture the primitive gesture inherent in art..
One of the most famous paintings of Helnwein's oeuvre is Epiphany I - Adoration of the Magi, (1996, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 cm x 333cm, collection of the Denver Art Museum). It is part of a series of three paintings: Epiphany I, Epiphany II (Adoration of the Shepherds), Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple), created between 1996 and 1998. In Epiphany I, SS officers surround a mother and child group. To judge by their looks and gestures, they appear to be interested in details such as head, face, back and genitals. The arrangement of the figures clearly relates to motive and iconography of the adoration of the three Magi, such as were common especially in the German, Italian and Dutch 15th century artworks. Julia Pascal wrote about this work in the New Statesman: "This Austrian Catholic Nativity scene has no Magi bearing gifts. Madonna and child are encircled by five respectful Waffen SS officers palpably in awe of the idealised, blonde Virgin. The Christ toddler, who stands on Mary's lap, stares defiantly out of the canvas." Helnwein's baby Jesus is often considered to represent Adolf Hitler..
Works for the Stage
Helnwein is also known for his stage and costume designs for theater, ballet and opera productions. Amongst them: "Macbeth
" by William Shakespeare
, (director, choreographer: Johann Kresnik
) , Theater Heidelberg
, 1988, Volksbühne Berlin
, 1995; "The Persecution and Murder of Jean Paul Marat
, Performed by the Drama Group of the Hospice at Charenton, under Direction of Monsieur de Sade
" by Peter Weiss
, (director: Johann Kresnik), Stuttgart National Theatre
, 1989; "Pasolini
, Testament des Körpers", (director: Johann Kresnik), Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg
, 1996; "Hamletmaschine" by Heiner Müller
, (director: Gert Hof), 47. Berliner Festwochen, Berlin 1997, Muffathalle, München
, 1997; "The Rake's Progress
" by Igor Stravinsky
, (director: Jürgen Flimm
), at Hamburg State Opera
, 2001; "Paradise and the Peri
", oratorio by Robert Schumann
, (director, choreographer: Gregor Seyffert & Compagnie Berlin), Robert-Schumann-Festival 2004, Tonhalle Düsseldorf
; Der Rosenkavalier
" by Richard Strauss
, (director: Maximilian Schell
) at Los Angeles Opera
, 2005, and Israeli Opera Tel Aviv
, 2006;"Der Ring des Nibelungen
, part I, Rheingold
", choreographic theatre after Richard Wagner
, (director, choreographer: Johann Kresnik), Oper Bonn
, 2006; "Der Ring des Nibelungen
, part II, Siegfried
", director, choreographer: Johann Kresnik), Oper Bonn
- 1965 - 1969 Helnwein studied at the Vienna Higher College for Graphic Art (Höhere Grafische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt, Wien).
- 1969 - 1973 he studied at the University of Visual Art in Vienna (Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien).
- At that time he began to work on a series of hyper-realistic watercolour-paintings of bandaged and wounded children.
- 1971 First public Aktions in the streets of Vienna, often with bandaged children (Aktion Sorgenkind, Aktion Hallo Dulder, Aktion Eternal Youth, Aktion Sandra).
- In the exhibition "Zoetus" at the Kunsthalle "Künstlerhaus" in Vienna unidentified people put stickers with the words "Entartete Kunst" (degenerate art) on Helnwein's paintings.
- At the opening of an one man show at Galerie D. in Moedling, near Vienna, the Major has Helnwein's Artworks confiscated by the police.
- 1972 An exhibition at the "Galerie im Pressehaus" (Gallery of the House of the Press) is closed after 3 days because of strong protests and threats by the works council.
- 1979 Spurred into action by an interview in an Austrian tabloid in which the country's top court psychiatrist, Dr Heinrich Gross, admitted killing children at Vienna's Am Spiegelgrund Pediatric Unit during the war by poisoning their food, Helnwein painted Life not Worth Living - a watercolour of a little girl "asleep" on the table, her head in her plate. The painting was published in Austrias leading newsmagazine Profil and sparked a nationwide debate that finally led to Gross' appearing before a Vienna court . The judge ruled Gross was mentally unfit to be tried.
- 1982 Helnwein was offered a chair by the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, which he declined.
- 1983 Helnwein met Andy Warhol in his factory in New York, who posed for a series of photo-sessions.
- 1984 German and Austrian National Television co-produced the film "Helnwein", directed by Peter Hajek. In Los Angeles Helnwein meets Muhammad Ali, who appeared in his film. The film was awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize for best television-documentary and in the same year won the Eduard Rhein Prize and the Golden Kader of the city of Vienna for outstanding camera work.
- 1985 one man show at the Albertina, Vienna.
- Rudolf Hausner, recommended Helnwein as his successor as professor of the master-class for painting at the University of Visual Art in Vienna, but Helnwein left Vienna and moved to Germany. He bought a medieval castle close to Cologne and the Rhine-river, where he lived and worked till 1997.
- Besides his realistic work, Helnwein also began to develop abstract, expressive styles of painting during this period. He radically changes his way of working and now begins a series of large-format pictures consisting of several parts (diptychs, triptychs, poliptychs). In doing so he combines photomurals with abstract gestural and monochrome painting in oil and acrylic, also using reproductions of Caspar David Friedrich paintings and war documentary photographs which he assembles to form what Viennese art-critic Peter Gorsen calls "Bilderstrassen" (picture lanes).
- 1987 Der Untermensch, Gottfried Helnwein, self-portraits of from 1970 - 1987, one man show at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Strasbourg.
- Aktion Gott der Untermenschen (God of Sub-Humans), Performance at Camp Kopal, St. Pölten of the Austrian Army, using tanks and ammunition
- 1988, In remembrance of "Kristallnacht" , the actual beginning of the Holocaust - 50 years earlier, Helnwein erected a 100 meter long installation in the city center of Cologne, between Ludwig Museum and the Cologne Cathedral. Just days into the exhibit, these portraits were vandalized by unknown persons, symbolically cutting the throats of the depicted children's faces. Since then large scale installations in public spaces became an important part of his work.
- 1989 One-man show at the Folkwang Museum in Essen.
- Torino Fotografia 1989, Biennale Internationale, Gottfried Helnwein, David Hockney, Clegg and Guttmann.
- 1989 Helnwein's photographic work from 1970 to 1989 was published in a monograph by Dai Nipon in Japan. Text by Toshiharu Ito.
- Helnwein met William S. Burroughs in Lawrence, Kansas.
- Cooperation with German poet and playwright Heiner Müller and choreographer Hans Kresnik on a play about Antonin Artaud.
- 1990 One-man show in the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne. Installation "Neunter November Nacht".
- 1990 Collaboration with Marlene Dietrich on the book Some Facts about Myself, for the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her essay that gave the book it's title was the last text that Marlene Dietrich wrote in her life.
- 1991 Installation Kindskopf (Child's Head) in the Minoriten Church in Krems, Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum (Museum of Lower Austria). Helnwein painted a 6x4 m (18x12 feet) child's head for the apse of the early Gothic basilica.
- Helnwein finished 48 Portraits, a series of 48 monochrome red pictures of women (oil on canvas) as a counterpart to Gerhard Richter's "48 Portraits" of 1971, which depict only men in monochrome grey. The cycle of paintings was first shown at Galerie Koppelmann in Cologne, and later acquired by collector Peter Ludwig for the Collection of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne.
- Helnwein began to focus on digital photography and computer-generated images which he often combines with classical oil-painting techniques.
- 1993 One-man show at Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn.
- Aktion-Reaktion, exhibition of the Austrian painters Arnulf Rainer, Hermann Nitsch, Günter Brus, and Helnwein, works from the Schömer collection, at the Foundation Fiecht, Austria.
- 1994 Stage design, costumes, and make-up for Macbeth, a production of Hans Kresnik's Choreographic Theatre at Volksbühne Berlin The play was awarded the Theatre Prize of Berlin.
- Helnwein curated and organized the first Museum-exhibition of Disney-artist Carl Barks, the creator of the Donald Duck universe, Uncle Scrooge and Duckburg. The retrospective was shown in 10 European Museums and seen by more than 400 000 visitors.
- 1997 Moved to Ireland
- In the same year the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg organized a Helnwein retrospective and publishes a monograph of the artist
- German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig donated 53 works of Helnwein to the collection of the State Russian Museum Saint Petersburg.
- Photo-session with the German industrial metal band Rammstein. Their album "Sehnsucht (album)" is released with six different covers by Gottfried Helnwein..
- 2000 The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art shows Helnwein's Mickey I, (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 83" x 122") in the exhibition The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection.
- Helnwein's Black Mirror, (Self-Portrait, polaroid, 1987) in the show Ghost in the Shell at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
- 2001 Stage and costume design for the Hamburgische Staatsoper of Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake's Progress
- 2002 Helnwein established a studio in Los Angeles.
- 2003 Premiere of the Helnwein documentary Ninth November Night, the Art of Gottfried Helnwein at the Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles. Director: Henning Lohner, Commentators: Sean Penn, Maximilian Schell, Jason Lee, Introductory text by Simon Wiesenthal. (Camera: Jason Lee, Darren Rydstrom, Bernd Reinhardt)
- Collaboration with Marilyn Manson on the multi-media project "The Golden Age of Grotesque" and video productions like Doppelherz und Mobscene.
- Installation and performance with Manson at the Volksbühne Berlin.
- Collaboration with Sean Penn on the Music Video 'The Barry Williams Show' by Peter Gabriel
- 2004 The Child, Works by Gottfried Helnwein, one-man show at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco Fine Arts Museums. The exhibition is seen by 130,000 visitors. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the exhibition the most important show of a contemporary artist in 2004.
- Collaboration with Maximilian Schell for the Richard Strauss opera "Der Rosenkavalier ” at Los Angeles Opera, and Israeli Opera Tel Aviv.
- Helnwein receives Irish citizenship.
- 2005 Marilyn Manson marries Dita von Teese at Helnwein's castle in Tipperary, Ireland.Helnwein is best man.
- Helnwein retrospective at the National Art Museum in Beijing.
- 2006 "Face it", one man show, Lentos Museum of Modern Art Linz
- The council of the city of Philadelphia honors Gottfried Helnwein for his artistic contributions in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive
- 2007 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger acquired the painting "Death Valley (American Landscape I, 2002, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 300 inches) for the Governor's Council Room at the California State Capitol in Sacramento .
- The Virtual Museum of Art at Second Life opened with a Helnwein retrospective. The VMOA is the first virtual Museum that is dedicated to the lifework of a living artist.
- Participation in the exhibition "Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper", De Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
- 2008 Retrospective at Rudolfinum Gallery in Prague.
- "I Walk Alone", one man show at the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University.
- On the occasion of the infamous incest case of Amstetten in Austria, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung writes: "Amstetten between discomposure and media-hype: A dungeon amidst the town, a father inflicting martyrdom onto his children - how we struggle to put the pieces of the incomprehensible together. The dungeon in Amstetten touches something deep inside the marrow of the Austrians, their dark side, mirrored in the poems of their authors and in the Images of Gottfried Helnwein, depicting people with forkes pusched into their eyes. Or Girls with blood running down their legs. Helnwein's paintings are nightmares, that tell of the dungeons in our heads....
Gottfried Helnwein currently lives and works in Ireland and Los Angeles.
Helnwein has four children with his wife Renate: Cyril, Mercedes, Ali Elvis and Wolfgang Amadeus, who are all artists. He moved to Dublin
in 1997. In 1998 he bought castle Gurteen de La Poer in County Tipperary
where he now lives with his family. In 2004 Helnwein received Irish citizenship
On December 3, 2005, Marilyn Manson
and Dita Von Teese
were married in a private, non-denominational ceremony at Helnwein's castle . The wedding was officiated by surrealist film director and comic book writer Alejandro Jodorowsky
, Gottfried Helnwein was best man
. They exchanged vows in front of approximately 60 guests, including Lisa Marie Presley
, Eric Szmanda
, burlesque performer Catherine D'lish
and Christian Hejnal
. Dita wore a royal purple silk taffeta
gown, made by Vivienne Westwood
and a tri-corned hat designed by Stephen Jones and matching Mr. Pearl corset. Christian Louboutin
designed her shoes and Moschino
created an additional wardrobe for the rest of the weekend, exclusively for Von Teese. The reception music was provided by the retro German band Palast Orchester
with Max Raabe
. Guests were invited to participate in skeet shooting, archery and falconry in the days following the wedding. The wedding pictures appeared in the March 2006 edition of Vogue
under the heading "The Bride Wore Purple".
In the past Helnwein has supported the Church of Scientology
William Burroughs said of Helnwein:
- "It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows. Helnwein is a master of surprised recognition."
Helnwein is one of the few exciting painters we have today.
Well, the world is a haunted house, and Helnwein at times is our tour guide through it. In his work he is willing to take on the sadness, the irony, the ugliness and the beauty. But not all of Gottfried's work is on a canvas. A lot of it is the way he's approached life. And it doesn't take someone knowing him to know that. You take one look at the paintings and you say "this guy has been around." You can't sit in a closet - and create this. This level of work is earned.
Gottfried Helnwein is my mentor. His fight for expression and stance against oppression are reasons why I chose him as an artistic partner. An artist that doesn't provoke will be invisible. Art that doesn't cause strong emotions has no meaning. Helnwein has that internalized.
Helnwein's subject matter is the human condition. The metaphor for his art is dominated by the image of the child, but not the carefree innocent child of popular imagination. Helnwein instead creates the profoundly disturbing yet compellingly provocative image of the wounded child. The child scarred physically and the child scarred emotionally from within.
Robert Flynn Johnson, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Warhol is the pre-Helnwein ...
Dieter Ronte, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna
Works in collections
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
- Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, San Francisco
- Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
- Denver Art Museum
- Museum Ludwig, Cologne
- Ludwig Forum for International Art Aachen
- Ludwig Museum Schloss Oberhausen
- The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
- Albertina Museum, Vienna
- National Art Museum of China, Beijing
- Museum Folkwang, Essen
- Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California
- 21 Century Museum Louisville, Kentucky
- Polaroid Collection Photographic Resource Center, Boston University
- San Jose Museum of Art
- Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock
- Lentos Museum of Modern Art, Linz, Austria
- Essl Museum for Contemporary Art, Vienna
- Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland
- Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
- ZKM, Center for Art and Media Museum, Karlsruhe
- Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn
- Leopold Hoesch Museum Düren
- Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern
- Museum of Lower Austria, Sankt Pölten
- Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art Turku, Finland
- National Museum of Photography, Fotomuseo, Bogotá, Colombia
- The Virtual Museum of Art in Second Life.
- Benedikt Taschen Collection, Cologne, Los Angeles
- Robert Wilson Collection, New York
- Vicki and Kent Logan Collection, Denver
- Thom Weisel Collection, San Francisco
- Sean Penn Collection, San Francisco
- Mikki and Stanley Weithorn Collection, New York
- Arnold Schwarzenegger Collection Los Angeles
- Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection, London
- Luke Brugnara Collection, San Francisco
- Ben Kingsley Collection, London
- Nicolas Cage Collection, Los Angeles
- Marilyn Manson Collection, Los Angeles
- Alexander Schütz Collection, Vienna
- Georg Stumpf Collection, Vienna
- Christian Baha Collection, Zürich
- The Child, Works by Gottfried Helnwein
One man exhibition 2004
San Francisco Fine Arts Museums
Robert Flynn Johnson, Harry S. Parker
Robert Flynn Johnson, Helnwein
- Face it, Works by Gottfried Helnwein
One man exhibition 2006
Lentos Museum of Modern Art Linz
Stella Rollig, Thomas Edlinger, Nava Semel
Stella Rollig, Helnwein
Christian Brandstätter, Wien 2006
- Helnwein, Monograph
Gottfried Helnwein, Retrospective 1997
State Russian Museum St. Petersburg
Alexander Borovsky, Curator for Contemporary Art
Klaus Honnef, Peter Selz, William Burroughs,
Heiner Müller, H.C. Artmann.
Klaus Honnef, Helnwein (ISBN 3-930775-31-X)
Koenemann, 1999 (ISBN 3-8290-1448-1)
- Helnwein - Ninth November Night, 2003
Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles
Johnathon Keats, Simon Wiesenthal
Johnathon Keats, Helnwein
- Klaus Honnef, "The Subversive Power of Art, Gottfried Helnwein - A Concept Artist before the Turn of the Millennium", University of Heidelberg, 1997.
- Peter Gorsen, "The Divided Self - Gottfried Helnwein in his self-portraits", Museum of Modern Art, Strasbourg, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1988.
- Lynell George: "Gottfried Helnwein is in L.A.'s dark grip." Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2008.
- Kenneth Baker: "Dark and detached, the art of Gottfried Helnwein demands a response." San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2004.
- Steven Winn, "Childhood isn't what it used to be. In the arts, it's dark and complex." San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 2004.
- Julia Pascal, "Nazi dreaming", New Statesman, UK, April 10, 2006.
- Aiden Dunne, "Cutting Edge", The Irish Times, August 1, 2001.
- Mark Swed: 'Strange, but True - Gottfried Helnwein's wondrous staging of "Der Rosenkavalier", Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2005.
- Stella Rollig, "Gottfried Helnwein: Face it", Lentos Museum of Modern Art, Linz, Exhibition, March 10 - June 5, 2006.
- Mitchell Waxman, "Helnwein ‘Epiphany", Jewish Journal, Los Angeles, July 23, 2004.
- Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, "Shared Reading: Gottfried Helnwein", A Justice Site, California State University, Dominguez Hills, University of Wisconsin, Parkside, 2004.