Henry Darger

American, 1892–1973

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Henry Darger

American, 1892–1973

873
Followers
Biography

Henry Darger, a self-taught artist, began working on his magnum opus, an epic work of literature replete with drawings, at the age of 19. The final work, known by the title The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, totaled over 15,000 single-spaced pages and 300 paintings as a manuscript. The work was based loosely on the events of the Civil War, but recast with children as emancipated heroes; it addressed issues of innocence, slavery, destruction, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Darger led a solitary and even reclusive life as a janitor in a Chicago hospital for the majority of his life. It was not until after his death that his artistic production was discovered.

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Career Highlights
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User
Solo show at a major institution
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and 1 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Bienal de Sao Paulo
Biography

Henry Darger, a self-taught artist, began working on his magnum opus, an epic work of literature replete with drawings, at the age of 19. The final work, known by the title The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, totaled over 15,000 single-spaced pages and 300 paintings as a manuscript. The work was based loosely on the events of the Civil War, but recast with children as emancipated heroes; it addressed issues of innocence, slavery, destruction, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Darger led a solitary and even reclusive life as a janitor in a Chicago hospital for the majority of his life. It was not until after his death that his artistic production was discovered.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and 1 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Bienal de Sao Paulo
Articles Featuring Henry Darger
How “Problematic” Outsider Art Avoids Scandal
Feb 27th, 2019
The Radical Message behind Henry Darger’s Transgender Superheroes
Apr 11th, 2017
Outsider Artists Get Long-Overdue Market Spotlight at The Armory Show’s Modern Section
Mar 4th, 2016
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