Vivian Maier’s Rare Color Works Show the Mysterious Photographer in a New Light—See Them Here

A new show at Howard Greenberg Gallery reveals that the late nanny and artist was a prolific color photographer too.

Vivian Maier, Untitled, 1956 (1956). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

In the foreword to the newly released book Vivian Maier: The Color Work, renowned photographer Joel Meyerowitz describes the best street photographers as those who are skilled in the art of disappearing: “It is our invisibility that helps us get away with stealing fire from the gods.”

Vivian Maier possessed this talent in droves. Having spent her life primarily working as a nanny in Chicago, Maier was afforded a “license to be out on the streets, making any image she was interested in,” Meyerowitz writes.

After the historian John Maloof purchased a mysterious box at a storage auction and wound up with a treasure trove of the Maier’s rolls of film, he began a years-long journey to bring attention to the previously unknown photographer. Maloof succeeded with an Oscar-nominated documentary in 2014, Finding Vivian Maier, and a consistent run of gallery shows and media coverage have followed in the years since.

Although Maier was most adept in shooting black-and-white images of everyday life, a new show at New York’s Howard Greenberg Gallery, comprised solely of Maier’s rarely seen color photographs, reveals a new layer in the photographer’s oeuvre. Many of the pictures are more vibrant—a shock of bright red lipstick, say, or a buttery bunch of flowers abandoned by a street post—and they often offer clues to the political and societal shifts underway when they were taken, such as newspaper headlines and cinema posters.

See more highlights from the show below. “Vivian Maier: The Color Work” is on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery through January 5, 2019. 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1959 (1959). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Vivian Maier, Self-Portrait, Chicago, February, 1976 (1976). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1972 (1972). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1956 (1956). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1962 (1962). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1975 (1975). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Miami, FL, 1960 (1960). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, October 1976 (1976). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Self-Portrait, Chicago, January 1976 (1976). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Self-Portrait, Chicago, July 1978 (1978). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1978 (1978). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, untitled, no date. © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Self-Portrait, Chicago, February 1976 (1976). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1962 (1962). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Self-Portrait, Chicagoland, October, 1975 (1975). © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Vivian Maier, Location and date unknown. © Estate of Vivian Maier, courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

 

Howard Greenberg Gallery is located at 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406.


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