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University of Chicago Library Receives Nearly Five Hundred Vivian Maier Photographs

Nearly five hundred photographs by the late Vivian Maier were given to the University of Chicago Library by filmmaker and collector John Maloof. The gift comprises never-before-seen vintage prints, along with some of Maier’s personal effects and one of her cameras. “As a new discovery in twentieth-century American photography, Vivian Maier’s work also offers fresh insights into the viewpoints and graphic styles of her contemporaries. This collection of prints will help researchers and students to understand Maier as a working photographer,” said Daniel Meyer, the director of the library’s Special Collections Research Center.

Maier’s work was discovered posthumously. Maloof ended up with more than one hundred thousand of the artist’s images after he purchased the contents of her storage lockers at auction in 2008. She worked as a nanny to support herself financially. A documentary about her, Finding Vivian Maier (2013), was cowritten and codirected by Maloof. “Vivian Maier herself is unique as a photographer because of her personal story and the remarkable quality of her work. Seeing these prints will help viewers to step back into Maier’s time and place and to explore her perspective,” said Brenda Johnson, the library director and university librarian at the University of Chicago.