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Henry Darger is one of the most widely admired "outsider" artists to be "discovered" in the last 30 years, and one of the few to reach a broad audience beyond the limited circle of folk-art devotees. He has been widely exhibited not only at specialized institutions such as New York's American Folk Art Museum (which houses a study center devoted to his work), but also at mainstream contemporary museums such as PS 1 in Long Island City. The Musée de l'Art Brut in Lausanne Switzerland has a large collection of Darger's work on permanent view, and he is widely admired throughout Europe.
Henry Joseph Darger, Jr. (April 12, 1892 – April 13, 1973) was a reclusive American writer and artist who worked as a hospital custodian in Chicago, IL. He has become famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story. The visual subject matter of his work ranges from idyllic scenes in Edwardian interiors and tranquil flowered landscapes populated by children and fantastic creatures, to scenes of horrific terror and carnage depicting young children being tortured and massacred. Much of his artwork is mixed media with collage elements. Darger's artwork has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art.
In 1930, Darger settled into a second-floor room on Chicago's North Side at 851 W. Webster Avenue in the Lincoln Park section of the city, near the DePaul University campus. It was in this room for the next 43 years that Darger would imagine and write...
Darger is buried in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, IL, in a plot called "The Old People of the Little Sisters of the Poor Plot." His headstone is inscribed "Artist" and "Protector of Children."