I saw Henry Darger every day for about twenty years. A shuffling old man, a recluse who never had visitors except for a rare visit from a priest
He lived in a single, large room that he had rented since 1930. The room was filled from floor to ceiling with debris of his scavenging. He would take long walks in order to gather his amazing collections, and at great distances from home he could be seen poking through garbage with his cane, looking for his treasures. Crucifixes, broken toys, old magazines, scores of used eyeglasses repaired with tape, dozens of empty bottles of Pepto Bismol, hundreds of balls of twine that he made by taping small pieces together; the list was endless...
"It is a humbling experience now to have to admit that not until I looked under all the debris in his room did I become aware of the incredible world that Henry had created from within himself...."
Henry Darger. A wrecked and broken-hearted man, who wrote a huge narrative saga for nobody but himself to read; and then illustrated it with 300 scroll-like, narrative watercolours for nobody but himself to see.
After Darger's death in 1973, his landlord of 40 years, a photographer and artist named Nathan Lerner, discovered the paintings and manuscripts while clearing out his room.
Reclusive janitor by day, visionary artist by night, outsider artist Henry Darger moved through life virtually unnoticed. But after his death, a treasure trove was discovered in his one-room Chicago apartment: a staggering 15,000-page novel and hundreds of illustrations that continue to inspire artists around the world.
What Nathan Lerner found were 15 volumes of a vast narrative work that Henry Darger began writing back in late adolescence
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-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story. Darger's work has become one of the most celebrated examples of outsider art.
Salon article: HERE
Also: Henry Darger
His art can be seen here at the CARL HAMMER GALLERY