Chicago History Museum to Unveil Never-Before Seen Works of Vivian Maier in New Exhibit

Vivian Maier: In Color will feature more than 65 color images of life in Chicago from the 1950s-1970s

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The Chicago History Museum is set to open a new exhibit featuring never before seen works of world-renowned photographer Vivian Maier this weekend.

Maier, who moved to Chicago from New York in the mid 1950’s worked as a nanny, was an avid photographer in her free time, taking nearly 100,000 photographs that had never been seen until after her death, according to a press release.

“She liked to work with reflective surfaces,” said John Russick, the senior vice president of the Chicago History Museum. “She liked to create different dynamic relationships with the objects and subjects of her gaze.”

While Maier is known for her black and white photography, this collection, titled Vivian Maier: In Color, features her work in color.

“Most people who are familiar with Vivian’s work see her as a black and white portraitist and street photographer,” Russick said. “To see it in color adds a whole dimension to it. “

Last year, the museum acquired 1,800 color slides, negative and transparencies from a Chicago-based art collector and primarily depicts people and scenes in Chicago from the 1950’s through 1970’s.

Following her death in 2009, Maier’s photographs were discovered in an abandoned storage locker and has been featured in at least 42 exhibitions around the world, including a previous display at the Chicago History Museum from 2021-2017.

The new exhibit, that opens to the public on Saturday, also features clips from film, made by Maier as well as audio recordings of her voice.

“She did a lot of self-portraits so we all know what she looked like, but [now is an opportunity] to hear her voice and to hear her articulate anything about what she was trying to accomplish or how she saw her life,“ Russick said.

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