Henry Darger was born in 1892 and worked as a custodian
from 1930 until his death in 1973.
He led an isolated life,
and lived in a small one room apartment in Chicago, Illinois.
His mother died while giving birth to his sister,
and in 1905, when Henry is only 13 years old,
his father dies.
Henry is placed in an asylum for feeble minded children
where it is said that he suffered years of abuse.
He escapes the asylum at the age of 16
and begins his life long work as a custodian
in a Catholic hospital.
He attends mass up to 4 times a day.
He becomes passionate about the protection of children.
Upon his death, in his small apartment,
they discover his secret world
several years of newspapers,
Between 1909 and 1921,
Henry wrote (in longhand!)
a 19,000 page novel known today as:
In the Realms of the Unreal.
There were hundred of paintings
and illustrations -
many depicting children being persecuted by adults.
Paintings were done on large sheets of paper stuck together,
some measuring over 4 feet in height
and up to 12 feet long.
Stories like this fascinate me.
How a man can live such a secluded life
and go so unnoticed
and so unloved
until after his death.
His paintings are now exhibited
in several galleries and museums,
including the Museum of Modern Art
and the American Folk Art Museum (both in NY)
In 2008, INUIT: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (in Chicago)
opened a permanent exhibit of the Henry Darger room...
a small room recreated to look like his
where he lived as an artist,
and did what he felt compelled to do: