Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club
March 17, 2013 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Sometime in the mid-1960s, a junk dealer in Houston, Texas acquired 12 large notebooks that had been thrown out to the curb after a house fire.

Filled with mysterious, double-sided, collaged watercolor drawings, the journals were eventually discovered at the junk shop in 1969 by art history student Mary Jane Victor. It turns out that the drawings/watercolors were the work of one Charles August Albert Dellschau (1830 - 1923). Dellschau was a butcher for most of his life and only after his retirement in 1899 did he begin his incredible career as a self-taught artist.
posted by davebush (23 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
These are pretty damn cool.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:01 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow. Thanks for this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:07 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Excellent. Reminds me of an American Codex Seraphinianus.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:11 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, these are amazing, thanks for posting this. Reminds me of Henry Darger.
posted by oulipian at 3:17 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Reminds me of Tadanori Yokoo.
posted by PHINC at 3:20 PM on March 17, 2013

I wonder if he ever got to actually fly in an airplane?
posted by double block and bleed at 3:27 PM on March 17, 2013

Previously on MeFi.
posted by dhruva at 3:28 PM on March 17, 2013

I love these. They are almost op art. PHINC, they are reminiscent of Tadanori Yokoo; I remember his work from my battered copy of "Beatles Illustrated Lyrics".
posted by Fnarf at 3:33 PM on March 17, 2013

Got a real "Chums of Chance" vibe going there.
posted by chavenet at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Dominique de Menil was a very interesting art collector. She was quite wealthy and has had a huge impact on Houston arts; her foundation owns a lot of land in the middle of town and has set up the Menil Gallery, the Rothko Chapel, and a bunch of other great stuff. She had an amazing eye for art trends and among other things put together one of the best private collections of Surrealist art around. All free for display at the Menil Gallery now, I was lucky to grow up a couple of miles from it. Anyway it makes perfect sense that she was involved in first recognizing these works as something interesting, totally in line with her expertise.
posted by Nelson at 5:40 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

They're actually strongly reminiscent of the work of Adolf W├Âlfli--which also makes me wonder a bit about Dellschau's mental health.
posted by yoink at 6:27 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's a touch of Martin Ramirez in there too, actually; another 'outsider artist' who spent most of his life institutionalized.
posted by yoink at 6:32 PM on March 17, 2013

I saw some pages from this at AVAM years ago, along with Darger. My head has never been _____ since.
posted by scruss at 6:58 PM on March 17, 2013

so great.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 7:49 PM on March 17, 2013

A feature-length documentary about Dellschau on Youtube: The Realms of the Unreal
posted by mediated self at 8:38 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

In the Realms of the Unreal is a documentary about Henry Darger, not Dellschau. It's cool that it's on YouTube, though.
posted by oulipian at 8:59 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

D'oh! I was clicking around reading about both of them and came across it. Still technically relevant, I guess?
posted by mediated self at 9:08 PM on March 17, 2013

The percentage of people in the world aware of Henry Darger = < 1%

The percentage of MeFites aware of Henry Darger = scary

nice post...thanks!
posted by HuronBob at 4:02 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Amazing pics!
posted by Theta States at 6:45 AM on March 18, 2013

Wow, just beautiful!

Definitely some Wolfi similarities, but it reminds me just as strongly of Little Nemo in Slumberland. Overlapping time periods if I recall, so maybe that accounts for it.

Anyone else want nice reproductions of the notebooks? Can someone make that real? Please?
posted by rock swoon has no past at 9:11 AM on March 18, 2013

Just beautiful. Makes me wonder how much amazing stuff has ended up in landfills.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:36 AM on March 18, 2013

Really neat!
posted by bluefly at 10:16 AM on March 18, 2013

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