German painter, born in Berlin, where he studied at the School of Arts and Crafts, 1923–4, and the Academy, 1924–30. In 1933–6 he lived on the island of Majorca, but had to leave because of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. After serving in the German army in the Second World War, he settled in West Berlin but made frequent visits to Ischia, an island in the Gulf of Naples. Heldt is best known as a painter of street scenes and for this reason has been called ‘the Utrillo of Berlin’. He visited Utrillo in Paris in 1930 and like him was a heavy drinker, but the resemblance between their work was slight. Heldt's streets are often depicted at night and are usually empty, sometimes with suggestions of mysterious or ‘Metaphysical’ perspectives. In some of his pictures he embodied his war experiences in views of dream cities that border on the Surrealistic. Towards the end of his career his work became increasingly abstract.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.