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A New Retrospective Dedicated to Photographer Vivian Maier

photography by vivian maier

Vivian Maier, New York Public Library, circa 1954, analog print, 2012 © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY.

The work of Vivian Maier, relegated to obscurity for decades, captures the beauty of daily life in New York and Chicago starting in the 1950s. To those in the know, Maier is one of street photography's brightest minds. At the end of the year, public health context permitting, a retrospective exhibit in Paris will present her stunning body of work.

Photography lovers will want to mark this one on their calendars. From September 15, 2021, to January 7, 2022, Paris' Musée du Luxembourg will welcome France's largest ever Vivian Maier exhibition — the first to grace the City of Lights.

In the 1950s, this New Yorker (whose French mother worked as a nanny in Chicago), would begin secretly photographing the urban vignettes around her. Fascinated by the dynamics of city life, the artist would continue to immortalize strangers up until the 90s, photographing them unawares in the reflections of mirrors or shop windows.

It was only after the artist's death in 2009 that her work — over 120,000 images — was finally brought to light. Two years earlier, the young John Maloof got his hands on a box of negatives at an estate auction. Inspired by their beauty and quiet poetry, he set about finding their maker, finally discovering her name on the back of an envelope left at a photo lab.

Today, Vivian Maier is considered one of the beacons of street photography, alongside Walker Evans and Robert Frank. Her retrospective at the Musée Luxembourg will include over 260 photographs, as well as audio recordings and never-before-seen films shot on Super 8.

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