Interest in photographer Vivian Maier, the formerly anonymous, reclusive Chicago nanny whose work burst on to the world stage only as she was on her deathbed, seems to have shifted to the legal fight over the rights to the increasingly valuable work.
Along the way, various private parties have taken it upon themselves to try to unravel the mysteries or influence the proceedings in some way or another. The latest is Ann Marks, a retired New York businesswoman who says Internet research is "...a hobby of mine. I do it to challenge myself."
Marks has scooped Pamela Bannos, another researcher who is writing a book on Maier, in revealing some facts both claim to have uncovered about Vivian's equally obscure brother Charles. The facts of Charles' life might influence the legal ownership of the estate. The Chicago Tribune has the story, in an article called "Hunt for acclaimed photographer Vivian Maier's long-lost brother heats up." (A brief warning: read this one soon—from what I hear, Trib articles only stay free online for a few days after publication. [UPDATE: It's already behind a paywall. Go to Google News and search "Vivian Maier" and you can access it. —Ed.)
The article notes also a "chilling effect" that the legal fight is having on Maier's celebrity itself, noting that exhibits have been cancelled around the world.
(Thanks to Jeff Goldstein)
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Bernd Reinhardt: "It is so sad how the vultures are circling over Vivian Maier's estate. This is such a rare story and I do believe that without Maloof's efforts, nobody would know about Maier's work. Whether he deserves the full fortune or only a part, which common sense would say he definitely does, it is a shame that exhibitions are cancelled. This is definitely art that should be enjoyed by the public."