Vivian Maier: Photographs of Children


Photographs of Children

July 17 – September 13, 2014

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 17, 5-9 pm

Stephen Bulger Gallery is proud to present our second exhibition of photographs by Vivian Maier (1926 - 2009). This exhibition features compelling portraits of childhood, offering insight into the mysterious life of this elusive photographer. Maier worked most of her adult life as a nanny. She spent countless hours in the company of children, capturing the fleeting moments of their young lives. A selection of vintage prints, as well as posthumous exhibition prints made by master printers Ron Gordon and Sandra Steinbrecher will be displayed.

Vivian Maier was born in New York City and lived many years in the Champsaur Valley in France, where several generations of her family had lived. As a young woman she became enamoured with photography and would often shoot a full roll of film or more in a day, a habit that she continued throughout her life. In the early 1950s she returned to New York and later moved to the North Shore of Chicago where she lived until her death in 2009.

Maier’s storage lockers held the accumulation of her passion: negatives, prints, camera equipment and undeveloped film would eventually amount to about 120,000 unique images. In 2007, Maier could no longer afford storage, and her belongings began to be sold at auction. Several bidders purchased parts of the collection and Chicago art collector Jeffrey Goldstein acquired his portion from two of the original buyers. Goldstein’s collection of about 20,000 negatives, prints, slides and films, is the source of our exhibition.

Vivian Maier was by all accounts, a private person. While she was rarely without her camera, there is little evidence to suggest that she shared her photographs with others. Over the past five years, the caretakers of her collection have had the joy of sharing her work with the world in exhibitions throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. The public reaction to her work is unprecedented and her reputation as a photographer continues to grow as her work is exhibited and appreciated.

To date, four books of Maier’s work have been published, including most recently, Vivian Maier: Eye to Eye written by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams. Ms. Maier has also been the subject of two documentary films: The Vivian Maier Mystery, an award-winning film by the BBC and Finding Vivian Maier, a film in current release that chronicles her life as well as the role that Chicago historian, John Maloof played in bringing her work to the public’s attention.

Though Vivian Maier’s work was never exhibited in her lifetime, it is now apparent that her work will live on, inspiring others and establishing her as one of the best street photographers of the 20th century.

Vivian Maier: Photographs of Children

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