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Vivian Maier

Unseen Work

A black-and-white photograph of a woman's reflection in a store window in an urban setting
Self-Portrait, New York, NY, 1954 © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY

Fotografiska New York presents the first major retrospective in the United States of invisible artist Vivian Maier’s extraordinary work through September 29, 2024.

Born in New York in 1926, Vivian Maier spent her early years in the Bronx. Throughout her time in New York City, Maier began to photograph the world around her and develop a visual language through the use of her camera, all while working as a nanny. Nearly a century later, Maier figures in the history of photography alongside the greatest masters of the twentieth century.

"The discovery of Vivian Maier's photographs after her death is one of the great serendipities in the history of the medium."
Anne Morin, Director of diChroma photography & Exhibition Curator


Vivian Maier: Unseen Work explores Maier’s complete oeuvre from the early 1950s to the mid-1980s through approximately 200 works: vintage and modern prints, color, black and white, and Super 8 films and soundtracks, offering a complete vision of the dense, rich and complex architecture of this archive that provides a fascinating testimony to post-war America and the hell of the American dream.

The exhibition is organized by diChroma photography and Fotografiska New York in collaboration with the John Maloof Collection, Chicago, and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York. Presented for the first time at Musée du Luxembourg, Paris from September 15th, 2021 to January 16th, 2022, the exhibition was co-organized by diChroma photography and the Réunion des musées nationaux Grand Palais.

The exhibition is supported by Women In Motion, founded by the Kering Group in 2015 to highlight inequalities in the field of culture and the arts and to change perceptions. Since then, the program has become a platform of choice for helping to change mindsets and leading conversations about the status of women in the arts and culture.

A self portrait of Vivian Maier taken in the reflection of a circular mirror
Self-Portrait, New York, NY, 1953


Intensely private and decidedly unmaterialistic, Vivian Maier (1926-2009) was an American street photographer and nanny born in New York City.

She took snapshots into the late 1990′s, eventually leaving behind a body of work comprised of over 100,000 negatives. Her passion for documenting the world around her also extended to a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings.

In 2007, one of her storage lockers was auctioned off at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side due to delinquent payments. It contained a massive hoard of negatives from throughout her lifetime which would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who brought her photography to the public eye, John Maloof.

Currently, Maier’s body of work is being archived and cataloged for the enjoyment of others and for future generations. John Maloof is at the core of this project, after reconstructing most of the archive. Now, with roughly 90% of her archive reconstructed, Vivian’s work is part of a renaissance in interest in the art of street photography.

“Well, I suppose nothing is meant to last forever. We have to make room for other people. It’s a wheel. You get on, you have to go to the end. And then somebody has the same opportunity to go to the end and so on.”
Vivian Maier
A photograph of a man sitting on a public bench with his baby, holding a balloon
Central Park, New York, NY, September 26, 1959 © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY
A photograph of a sitting woman posing for the camera with her hand resting on her face
Chicago, IL, May 16, 1957 © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY

Shop the Collection

Explore our dynamic assortment of books, tools, and stationery that celebrate the work of Vivian Maier and street photography.