HENRY DARGER (1892-1973)
HENRY DARGER (1892-1973)
HENRY DARGER (1892-1973)
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Property from the Estate of Siri von Reis
HENRY DARGER (1892-1973)

Eagle Headed Blengin

HENRY DARGER (1892-1973)
Eagle Headed Blengin
graphite, carbon transfer and watercolor on paper
14 x 17 in.
Executed circa 1950-60.
Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago
Acquired from the above in 2002
Michael Bonesteel, Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings (New York, 2000), p. 181.

Brought to you by

Cara Zimmerman
Cara Zimmerman Head of Americana and Outsider Art

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Lot Essay

The most ferocious kind of all Blengiglomeneans are the great Red Bellied Eagle Headed Blengins. When fully open their spangled wings are about thirteen hundred feet high and fourteen feet thick, and are striped with all kinds of round yellow dots. The stripes are red and the rest yellow. This creature also has a head and body like an eagle, but also part way like a dragon, and the tail sometimes exceeds ten thousand feet in length and is about forty feet high. Some kinds are venomous and others are not. They all have the same color bodies, though their wings vary in hue. They are seen in all countries and islands, except the Catherine Isles. Their roar is the same as the Golden Eagled Blengiglomenean creatures.

- Henry Darger (as transcribed in Michael Bonesteel, Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings (New York, 2000), pp. 174.)

Henry Darger (1892-1973) is widely recognized as one of the stars of Outsider Art and increasingly, as an incredibly important presence in Modern Art. His watercolor drawings chronicle events and scenes from a mythical world of his own creation.

The artist had a difficult childhood. Having lost both parents by age eight, he found stability in a job as a janitor at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago. Outside a brief stint in the army in late 1917, he worked in area hospitals from age seventeen until his retirement in 1963. If by day Darger led an unremarkable existence, by night, in a tiny apartment in Chicago’s North Side, he created a magnificent, fantastical world in watercolor and in words. His magnum opus, a 15,000-page typed manuscript 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, tells the story of a great war on an imaginary planet where child slaves, led by a group of pre-teens called the Vivian Girls, engaged in a series of battles with their adult overlords to gain freedom. Throughout his narrative and watercolors, winged figures with serpent-like tails, which Darger referred to as Blengiglomenean Serpents, protect and support his protagonists. Though he finished his manuscript in the 1930s, he continued to illustrate his world long after he finished the text.

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