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Vivian Maier’s unseen and poetic color pictures

November 15, 2018

Exhibition

Having seen plenty of her photographs in recent years, we might have gotten used to the idea that Vivian Maier was a classic black & white street photographer. With the exhibition of her color work at the Howard Greenberg gallery in New York, we learn that the American photographer liked showing the world in a less frozen way.

Location and date unknown. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Location and date unknown. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Location and date unknown. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Chicago, 1962. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Many of these photographs are on view for the first time, deepening the understanding of Maier’s oeuvre and her keenness to record and present her interpretation of the world around her. Dating from the 1950s to the 1980s, they capture the daily life in Chicago and New York, and include a number of her enigmatic self-portraits, where she played games with reflections in mirrors and windows.

Chicagoland, 1972. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Location unknown, May 1958. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Self-portrait, 1975. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Once again we find her in the street – her favorite terrain – with her unmistakable poetic style and her sensibility that can soften the hardest heart. She photographs a man who sells multicolored balloons. Plays with a lady who gives him a look as red as his outfit. Further, it’s a pink hat that catches her attention. Yellow and orange flowers in a shopping bag. White flowers on the backseat of a convertible car. An elderly couple holding hands in the shade of the sun. Some fairly simple pictures, perhaps less sophisticated than the most famous but with a touch of sweetness, or shine. A little more life in sum.

New York City, 1959. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Location unknown, 1960. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Self-portrait, Chicagoland, October 1975. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Chicagoland, 1975. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Alongside the exhibition, Vivian Maier: The Color Work, published by Harper Collins, is the first book devoted to her color images, with a foreword by street photographer Joel Meyerowitz and text by Colin Westerbeck, a former curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. “Maier was an early poet of color photography,” writes Joel Meyerowitz. “You can see in her photographs that she was a quick study of human behavior, of the unfolding moment, the flash of a gesture, or the mood of a facial expression—brief events that turned the quotidian life of the street into a revelation for her.”

Chicago, 1976. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Self-portrait, Chicago, January 1979. © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Vivian Maier, The Color Work

November 14, 2018 – January 5, 2019

Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 E 57th St
New York, NY 10022

http://www.howardgreenberg.com/

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