40 at Jenny Richee Facing attack by blengiglomeneans who mistake them for little Glandelinians because they wore gray unforms, the only way to save save themselves is to undress & hide the Glandelinian uniforms


Henry Darger (American, 1892–1973)


early–mid-twentieth century


Watercolor, pencil, and ink on paper


18 3/4 x 69 3/4 inches


T. Marshall Hahn Collection

Accession #


On View

Currently not on view

This double-sided work is part of Henry Darger’s 15,145-page illustrated manuscript, which the artist’s landlords discovered shortly before his death. In this panoramic scene, Darger’s heroines—the Vivian Girls—have stripped naked to signal to the winged-serpent creatures (Blengiglomeneans) overhead that they do not serve the evil, gray-uniform-wearing Glandelinians. The reverse depicts a sequence of three scenes, in which the girls are taken captive, turn the tables to take captives of their own, and engage in a violent battle. The Vivian Girls bear a strong resemblance to the little blonde girls depicted in mid-century American advertising for products such as Coppertone sunscreen and Coca-Cola, which Darger used as source material—with the exception that Darger’s versions are hermaphrodites. This deviation is among the surreal and loaded complexities in Darger’s epic project that have captivated subsequent generations of artists.

Image Copyright

© Kiyoko Lerner/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York