Henry Joseph Darger

1892 - 1973

Born in Chicago ().

Henry Darger was born in Chicago in 1892. After the death of his mother he was placed in a Catholic home for boys and then into the Lincoln Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children in rural Illinois, from which he ran away at the age of seventeen. Darger lived a solitary life, working as a janitor in a Chicago hospital from around the age of thirty until his retirement in 1963. A devout Catholic, Darger went to mass every day. During this time Darger created the work for which he is now known. This, his magnum opus, is commonly referred to as *In the Realms of the Unreal*. This expansive, complex narrative together with over 300 imaginatively constructed fantasy drawings have come to be regarded as one of the 20th century’s most original and unusual literary works. It was not until after Darger’s death that the full scope of his artistic production became known. His landlord, Nathan Lerner, himself an artist and inventor, discovered Darger’s artworks after the artist was sent to a nursing home just before the end of his life. Darger’s works are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the Collection de l’Art Brut (Lausanne), the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

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