Gottfried Helnwein (born October 8, 1948 in Vienna) is an Austrian fine artist, photographer, 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. His early work consists mainly of hyper-realistic watercolors, depicting wounded children, as well as performances - often with children - in public spaces. Helnwein is a conceptual artist, 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. He has worked as a painter, draftsman, photographer, muralist, sculptor and performance artist, using a wide variety of techniques and media. Helnwein is also known for his stage and costume designs of theater, ballet and opera productions. amongst them Staatsoper Hamburg, Volksbühne Berlin and Los Angeles Opera.