Vivian Maier is an enigma of the art world. Born in 1926, she took thousands of photographs, with many negatives undeveloped, before she was ‘found’. It wasn’t until 2007 that her work was discovered, after she fell on hard times financially and her storage unit was auctioned off for a small price. In 2009, she passed away, the same year her work began to circulate online from its buyers. A year later, her images began to show in galleries and museums, and in 2013, her life was chronicled in the documentary, Finding Vivian Maier. She has since become known as one of the greatest luminaries of the photography world – and yet, her story continues to unravel. While Maier is famed for her black and white square format works, recently, her colour photographs have been uncovered.
Vivian Maier: The Color Works is currently showcasing a series of these works, with many images on view for the first time. Hosted by New York’s Howard Greenberg Gallery, the exhibition features her documentation of street life in Chicago and New York, as well as a series of her self-portraits, which range from the 1950s to the 1980s. The exhibition follows a book of the same name which was released earlier this month, of which photographer Joel Meyerowitz wrote the foreword to. “Maier was an early poet of colour photography,” he observes. “You can see in her photographs that she was a quick study of human behaviour, of the unfolding moment, the flash of a gesture, or the mood of a facial expression – brief events that turned the quotidian life of the street into a revelation for her.”
Vivian Maier: The Color Work runs until 5 January 2019 at Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York