Gray Mouse

Gottfried Helnwein


Gray Mouse by Gottfried Helnwein

Oil and acrylic on canvas; 79,1 x 118,1 in.

Carl Barks´ Walt Disney characters – especially Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck – play an important role in Helnwein’s body of work.

For him Duckberg opened up a completely new, foreign, colourful world, which in his sad post-war-childhood seemed like salvation.

Later the characters appear again in Helnwein’s work but they have changed their meaning throughout his career. At an early artistic stage Duckberg reflects an idyllic world and offers a shelter. By and by the smile of Mickey Mouse transforms into an eerie grin. It no longer appears friendly but sneaky.

"In retrospect I would say from Donald Duck I have learned more about life than from all the schools I ever attended."

Lit. (“Memories of Duckberg” essay by Gottfried Helnwein, online: (2.12.2014).)