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Chicago History Museum Explores the Work of Vivian Maier in Newest Exhibition

By: MPI CAC | Jun 9, 2021


CHICAGO (March 25, 2021) — The Chicago History Museum is featuring a collection of many never-before-seen works by world-renown photographer Vivian Maier in an upcoming exhibition, "Vivian
Maier: In Color," opening to the public May 8.

“The Chicago History Museum is committed to sharing Chicago stories, and Vivian Maier’s work
represents her private contributions to the documentation and representation of culture found within
city life,” said Charles E. Bethea, Andrew W. Mellon director of collections and curatorial affairs.
“Maier’s photography brings a glimpse of Chicago and its residents to life between the 1950s to the
1970s, allowing present-day visitors the opportunity to reflect on the striking parallels it has to today’s

Maier worked as a nanny to several Chicago families and took extensive photos, documenting intimate
moments of the city and its people. “Vivian Maier: In Color” will illuminate Maier’s unique portfolio. While
her focus of attention varied, she approached all of her work with unwavering confidence, revealing
parallels, intersections and tensions.

Following her death in 2009, Maier’s prolific photographs — previously discovered in her abandoned
storage locker — were first displayed for the public. Maier rose to posthumous international acclaim for
her photography that expertly documented the people, landscapes, light and development of New
York, her hometown, and Chicago, where she settled, with remarkable attention to detail. Maier’s work
is now used widely in research and curriculum and has been celebrated in at least 42 exhibitions around
the world, including one on display at the Chicago History Museum from 2012-2017, “Vivian Maier’s

To underscore her accomplished photography, “Vivian Maier: In Color” will feature more than 65 color
images from the 1950s to the 1970s, most of which have never been seen, from art collectors Jeffrey
Goldstein, John Maloof and Ron Slattery. It is the first time the work in these three collections has
been featured together in one exhibition. The exhibition will also include clips from film, made by Maier,
and a series of sound bites and quotes featuring Maier’s voice.

“Vivian Maier’s photographs show moments of what looks to be a dynamic, multifaceted life in which
she prioritized her passion for taking pictures,” said Frances Dorenbaum, curator of “Vivian Maier: In
Color.” “Her dedication to photography is what makes her work so prolific today, and the Chicago History
Museum is thrilled to share her voice with the public and celebrate a once unknown artist.”

The exhibition comes after the Chicago History Museum last year acquired nearly 1,800 Vivian Maier
color slides, negatives and transparencies from Chicago-based artist and art collector Jeffrey Goldstein.
The collection primarily depicts people and scenes in Chicago from the 1950s to 1970s. The museum
worked closely with Goldstein and Vivian Maier’s Estate to accept a donation of photographs and
preserve them for public use. The acquisition gives the public access to many never-before-seen images
on the museum’s image portal.

The Chicago History Museum received a grant from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to process
the Vivian Maier collection. The grant promotes long-term preservation, collections access and
interpretive digital output such as blog posts and an online exhibition.

To learn more about “Vivian Maier: In Color” and associated programs, please visit:

The Chicago History Museum, a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history, is
located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum has dedicated more than a century to celebrating and sharing
Chicago’s stories through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming. The
Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents and images to help audiences connect to the city and its history. The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum is a 2016 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest award given to these institutions for their community engagement and having an impact on the lives of individuals, families and communities.




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