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Born in 1948 in Vienna, Helnwein was educated at the city’s University of Visual Art where he received the Master-class prize in addition to the Kardinal-König and Theodor-Körner prizes. His first solo show was held at the Nachtgalerie im Atrium, Vienna in 1970. In the forty years since, his work has been exhibited extensively in numerous group exhibitions, and over 50 one-man shows.
Helnwein‘s work is in the permanent collections of museums all over the world including in the US: the Denver Art Museum; Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The National Museum, Beijing; and in Europe: the Musée de l’Élysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria; State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany; Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany; Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, Germany; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, Germany; the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland; and in South America: the National Museum of Photography, Bogota, Colombia.
Gottfried Helnwein lives and works in Los Angeles California and County Tipperary, Ireland.