Vivian Maier’s Chicago — New Exhibition September 8th

Vivian Maier known today as the nanny photographer. She worked for North Shore families beginning in 1956 and quietly processed and took thousands of photos of the Chicago streets without ever exhibiting her true potential.

The Chicago History Museum presents Vivian Maier’s Chicago beginning September 8th with a member’s only preview night September 11th at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments, a private viewing of the exhibition, and curators will speak at length of the atributes and legacy of the Vivian Maier photographs. The event is $15 for members and $20 for the members’ guests.

Born on February 1st 1926 in New York City and growing up during long bouts of time in France, Vivian Maier sailed to New York City in 1951 and for five years resided there taking photographs. The reason for moving to Chicago in 1956 is unknown, but at that time she took up resisdence in Highland Park with the Gensberg family as their live-in nanny. She cared for three boys who saw her as Mary Poppins. They took field trips to Graceland Cemetery and picked wild strawberries in the nearby forest preserve. She traveled to Eygpt, Thailand, and Europe taking many photographs along the way. She worked for other families well into the late 1980s toting with her over 200 boxes of prints, negative, newspapers, and clothes. She was always known as the loving Mary Poppins type in Chicago’s North Shore even after retirement. Later in life, the two oldest boys of the Gensberg family, John and Lane helped Miss Maier move to Rogers Park and remained her close family until she passed away at 83 in April 2009.

As a very private person, she never gave away her photos only said she would sell them at the emotional price she felt their worth. The price was always too high. Her subjects include the poor, wealthy, and the everyday man of Chicago. Miss Maier herself can been seen in reflections and in the shadows of many of her photographs. The time period the Chicago History Museum has focused on is the 1950s to the 1970s of her photographs. See Chicago and Miss Maier soon at the Chicago History Museum!

As such a private person do you think Miss Maier would be proud to see her photographs in an exhibition after so long or horrified?

Photographs provided by Chicago History Museum

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