Henry Darger art at center of new federal lawsuit in case of reclusive North Sider whose work became world famous

Henry Darger art at center of new federal lawsuit in case of reclusive North Sider whose work became world famous

CHICAGO — The work of Chicago “outsider” artist Henry Darger has been displayed in galleries and museums throughout the globe and has generated thousands and thousands of {dollars}.

However Kiyoko Lerner and her late husband, Nathan Lerner, had no authorized proper to own the reclusive artist’s watercolor work, sketches and in depth writings after he died in 1973, in response to a federal lawsuit filed final week.

The go well with says that Kiyoko Lerner, who was at one time Darger’s landlord in Lincoln Park, would not legally personal any of the artist’s work or the copyright to it.

The go well with additionally accuses Lerner of one thing known as “anticybersquatting” by having a web site titled “officialhenrydarger.com.” The location gives details about Darger’s life, his work, in addition to a warning that “pictures might not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated with out written permission of Kiyoko Lerner.”

The go well with comes on the heels of a submitting in Cook dinner Circuit Court docket earlier this yr that seeks to find out Darger’s heirs. A kind of would-be heirs, Christen Sadowski, who lives in Clarendon Hills, was in Might appointed because the administrator of the Darger property. That case is ongoing.

Darger as an artist was unknown throughout his lifetime. For about 40 years, he lived in a one-bedroom condominium on West Webster Avenue. He was an eccentric loner. Every so often, neighbors on the steps outdoors his condominium would possibly hear raised voices – voices that sounded as if Darger had invented visitors or companions.

It wasn’t till 1972, after Darger had moved out, {that a} secret life was revealed, in a room cluttered with dozens of pairs of damaged eyeglasses, lots of of his personal watercolors, collage work and, in a trunk, a 15,000-page typed fantasy novel titled “Within the Realms of the Unreal.”

The Lerners have lengthy claimed that Darger willingly gave all of them of his work when, as he turned more and more frail, he moved out of the condominium he rented from them and right into a nursing house. He died in 1973, at age 81, and was buried in a pauper’s grave. He by no means married and had no kids.

Nathan Lerner requested Darger after he’d moved out if he needed to maintain something from his room.

“I’ve nothing I would like within the room. It’s all yours. You possibly can throw every part away,” Darger reportedly mentioned.

The Lerners took possession of the work. Darger has since turn out to be one in every of America’s best outsider artists. A lot of his work is housed on the American People Artwork Museum in New York. The Artwork Institute of Chicago has some items. One Darger piece offered at public sale for about $680,000.

The federal lawsuit seeks, amongst different issues, to provide the property sole possession of the copyright of Darger’s works and the return to the property of these works. The go well with can also be looking for any earnings from the sale of the artwork and a listing, from Lerner, of all the Darger paintings in her possession.

Lerner couldn’t be reached for remark. Her lawyer, Eric Kalnins, mentioned Monday that he had not but had an opportunity to overview the lawsuit along with his consumer. Sadowski additionally couldn’t be reached for remark.

(Supply: Solar-Instances Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Solar-Instances 2022.)

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