Tentative deal in legal fight over Vivian Maier’s Chicago photos

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John Maloof discovered more than 100,000 negatives and more than 3,000 prints of Vivian Maier’s massive body of Chicago street photography in an estate auction shortly before her death in 2009. | Rich Hein /S un-Times

A legal fight over copyrights to a massive trove of Chicago street photography by Vivian Maier — a Chicago nanny who was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary — appears near a resolution.

John Maloof — who discovered more than 100,000 negatives and more than 3,000 prints of Maier’s work since the 1950s at an estate auction shortly before her death in 2009 — said Tuesday he and the Cook County’s public administrator’s office have a tentative agreement after a year of talks. Maloof co-directed “Finding Vivian Maier.”

Maier died in 2009 with no will or obvious heirs to her more than 150,000 photographs. The county represents Maier’s estate by default.

By Vivian Maier. / Jeffrey Goldstein Collection

By Vivian Maier. / Jeffrey Goldstein Collection

Maloof wouldn’t give details of the settlement but said it will allow widespread display of Maier’s photography. Administrator lawyer Leah Jakubowski confirmed a deal but also declined to discuss specifics.

A probate judge must approve it. A hearing is set for May 10.

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