Exhibition of works by Henry Darger

03.09.2018 - vie

The museum's Permanent Collection is setting works by Henry Darger on display, together with his gigantic (3 meters long) book covers, presented for the first time.   

This summer (from 17 July to 30 September) the Collection de l’Art Brut features a selection of works by Henry Darger taken from its holdings.

Notably, these works include the large-size watercolours illustrating Henry Darger's saga "In the Kingdoms of the Unreal," several collages as well as several series of his small drawings focussing on flags, soldiers and imaginary creatures.

In parallel, and on display for the public for the very first time, viewers can see several of this creator's book covers.

Henry Darger was born in Chicago, USA. In 1896 his mother died. The boy lived alone with his father for a year. He was then placed in a home, followed by an institution for the mentally handicapped in Lincoln, from which he ran away at the age of 17 on learning of his father’s death. He went back to live in Chicago, where he rented a room and was taken on as a dish-washer and cleaner in hospitals of the city – a post he occupied until his retirement in 1963.

When he died his landlord, the photographer Nathan Lerner, discovered a 2,000-page autobiography, as well as a typed literary work amounting to more than 15,000 pages entitled In the Realms of the Unreal. It is accompanied by hundreds of huge watercolour drawings. His compositions feature heroines with male genitals, the seven ‘Vivian Girls’. They borrow from colouring albums, comic strips and children’s literature from the early 20th century. This colossal work occupied Henry Darger for more than 60 years. It is based on the collage technique, on tracing and on watercolours.