Exhibit Features Vivian Maier’s Photos of Chicago

Woman with camera taking a photo in a mirror
Source: Vivian Maier Prints Inc.-The Jeffery Goldstein Collection

We’re proud to present photographs by Vivian Maier (1926-2009) from the Jeffrey Goldstein Collection from March 29 to September 28 in the Special Collections Exhibit Hall on the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center.

The 51 silver gelatin prints taken from the book Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams feature Maier’s street photography and self-portraits from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Born in New York and raised in Europe, Maier moved to Chicago in the mid-1950s. Using a Rolleiflex camera, she wandered the streets of Chicago shooting images of everyday scenes and people, mostly on her days off from working as a nanny and housekeeper in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago.

Maier showed the images to no one and eventually stored the photographs and undeveloped film in a storage unit. She was unable to pay the rental fee later in her life, and the unit was purchased at auction by John Maloof in 2007. Maloof posted the pictures on a photo website, where they soon received a great deal of attention. He searched for information about Maier and discovered her obituary in the Chicago Tribune. She had died days before he located her. Maier had died at 83, not knowing her work would become critically acclaimed and the subject of books and exhibitions.

Get Involved

Help us find the next critically acclaimed street photographer! Share your work, including selfies, on our Flickr group #VivianatCPL. (New to Flickr? Learn how to share photos with a group.) We may choose your images to add to the archives of CPL’s Special Collections and Preservation Division.