GalerieExhibitionsPhoto exhibition – Streetqueen

Photo exhibition – Streetqueen

Opening hours for the special exhibition "Streetqueen" by Vivian Maier

Monday till Thursday 12 - 4 pm

Friday and Saturday 12 - 7 pm

Sunday 12 - 5 pm

In cooperation with the Howard Greenberg Gallery from New York, we are showing 120 photographs by the American artist and former nanny Vivian Maier, who died in 2009, entitled "Streetqueen".

Here is the press release for the exhibition from 30.10.2021 - 27.02.2022

The discovery of Vivian Maier was one of the greatest sensations in the history of photography after the Second World War. The American was completely unknown as an artist before thousands of undeveloped negatives turned up at an auction in Chicago in 2007 and her work has aroused amazement and admiration in illustrated books and exhibitions all over the world since 2011. Today, it is impossible to imagine street photography from the fifties to the seventies without it. Maier's visual world can now be experienced at the Hermann Noack Workshop Gallery in the exhibition "Streetqueen", which was organised in collaboration with the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York. Around 120 prints - including 22 of the rare vintage prints and some images recently developed for the first time - present all phases of Meier's work and also highlight the importance of her colour photography, which she has favoured since the sixties.

Born in New York in 1926 to a French mother and an Austrian father, Vivian Maier's life was overshadowed by her childhood in a dysfunctional family and a constant lack of money. For decades, she worked as a nanny in the affluent suburbs of Chicago. In the years before her death in 2009, she was completely impoverished and threatened with homelessness, but received support from some of her former employers. From 1949, when she first bought a camera during a stay in France, she devoted almost all of her free time to photography. Without any training or support from mentors, she developed great mastery and a very unique view of what she saw on the streets of New York and later in Chicago.

Maier captured people in the big city in moments when they thought they were unobserved and were completely alone. Even if they are split-second shots and the photographer must have been very discreet in her approach, her pictures reveal entire stories and often haunting character portraits. What is important to her is the social fabric of the streets, the view of people in everyday life and also of those on the margins of society. Maier had a sense for the seemingly trivial, such as a hairstyle from behind, a lost shoe, the parcel in a man's hand or architectural details. Fascinating are the refined compositions, which always have something casual about them, sometimes with bizarre or quirky elements. Maier often depicted himself - with a stern, closed face - in mirrors, shop windows or just as a shadow.

Maier, who kept her private life strictly private even from the families she lived with, apparently never showed anyone her photos. A total of around 150,000 photographs were taken, the vast majority of which Maier never developed or even got to see as contact prints due to lack of money. The owners of the negatives (led by John Maloof, the discoverer and most important promoter of Maier's work) have so far only published around 150 limited edition prints from the huge collection in the estate. As most of them are sold out, it is a rare opportunity for Howard Greenberg to now pass on all the prints on display - including numerous famous pictures that have shaped our image of Maier - to collectors and lovers of Maier's art who are interested. This also applies to the very rare vintage prints on display, which Maier produced herself or commissioned during her lifetime.

During the exhibition, screenings will show some of the artist's little-known Super 8 films as well as John Maloof's documentary "Finding Vivian Maier" (nominated for an Oscar in 2015).

Dates for the screening of the documentary "Finding Vivian Maier" are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 pm and 3 pm (additional screening on Friday at 5 pm) by appointment at


(1926 - 2009)

Vivian Maier was an American street photographer whose massive, unseen body of work came to light when it was purchased from an auction in Chicago in 2007. Born in New York City, Maier spent some of her youth in France and then worked in Chicago as a nanny and caregiver for most of her life. In her leisure, however, Maier ventured into the art of photography. Consistently taking photographs over the course of five decades, she would ultimately leave behind over 100,000 negatives. While her photographs have compelled viewers around the world since being brought to the public eye there is much that remains unknown about the enigmatic woman behind the lens.
Sometime in 1949, while still in France, Maier began making her first photographs with a modest Kodak Brownie– an amateur camera with only one shutter speed, no focus control, and no aperture dial. In 1951, she returned from France alone and purchased a Rolleiflex camera the following year. In 1956, she moved to the North Shore suburbs of Chicago, where a family employed her as a nanny for their three boys. She enjoyed the luxury of a darkroom as well as a private bathroom, enabling her to process prints and develop her own rolls of black and white film. As the children entered adulthood, Maier had to seek other employment, forcing her to abandon developing her own film. Moving from family to family thereafter, her rolls of undeveloped, unprinted work began to collect.
In 2007, the contents of Maier’s storage space were purchased by several buyers at auction, including John Maloof, who has since dedicated himself to establishing her legacy. While he was unable to connect with Maier in her lifetime, Maloof shared a selection of Maier’s photographs online in 2009 and was met with “viral” interest. Compelled to learn more about the woman behind the lens, Maloof began to investigate the life and work of Maier, culminating in the Oscar-nominated documentary Finding Vivian Maier (2014). Since the discovery of her work, Maier’s photographs have the subject of several publications and have been exhibited at major institutions throughout the world.

The photographer Vivian Maier in the Hermann Noack Workshop Gallery: Vivian Maier

For more information: Howard Greenberg Gallery