Henry Darger worked as a hospital custodian. After his death in 1973, hundreds of his illustrations were discovered. Brooklyn Taxidermy/flickr, CC BYVernacular art is a genre of visual art made by artists who are usually self-taught. They tend to work outside of art academies and commercial galleries, which have traditionally been the purview of white, affluent artists and collectors.
In the U.S., vernacular art – which can also be called folk art or outsider art – is dominated by the works of African American, Appalachian and working-class people. In many cases these artists took up making paintings, sculptures, quilts or textiles outside of a day job, or later in life.
In early 2023, Christie’s held an auction of outsider and vernacular art. Featuring work by American artists such as Henry Darger, Bill Traylor, Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Minnie Evans and Joseph Yoakum, the sale grossed more than US$2 million.
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