Henry Joseph Darger, Jr. (1892 – 1973) was a reclusive American artist who worked as a custodian in Chicago, Illinois. When Darger died in 1972, he left behind a tale in twelve massive volumes composed of 19,000 pages of legal sized paper entitled 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. Darger’s work has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art.
Alone in his room, unknown to those around him, Darger had created a fantasy world and gave tangible, visible form to an epic story of legions of pre-pubescent girls, with paper doll faces and unexpected male organs. The Vivian Girls battle for their lives against monstrous foes that seek to torture, kill or exploit them.
In 2000, The Intuit Gallery of Chicago took possession of the contents of Darger’s one-room living space. The Collection includes hundreds of objects (shoes, eyeglasses, balls of string, etc.). The contrast between the intimate scale of the room and the staggering volume of drawings, illustrations, writings, and collections, conveys vital information about Darger’s existence and the work he created. Architectural elements, fixtures, and furnishings from Darger’s original room have been permanently installed at the Gallery.
Henry Darger was a prolific and reclusive artist and writer; and despite his astonishing output, only three photographs of the man are known to exist.
About Henry Darger