Fascinating Secret Collections Unearthed

Sometimes, there’s nothing more exciting than a secret. In the case of these secret collections — art, writings, and entire worlds — the inner obsessions of their creators and keepers have proven to be strangely beautiful and endlessly fascinating. We explored the works and private lives of secret artmakers and collectors, unearthing an otherness and uniqueness that we can’t seem to get enough of.

Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier’s street photography

This weekend, the documentary Finding Vivian Maier introduced audiences to the nanny who found posthumous fame after a local historian discovered her photographs that documented the people and streets of Chicago during the 1950s and ‘60s. Over 100,000 negatives were found, many undeveloped, and the secret life of the quietly progressive Maier was unraveled. Maier kept hundreds of boxes filled with materials, some of which included newspaper clippings and audiotaped conversations with the people she photographed. She was described by the children she cared for as “a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person” — the same children who bought her an apartment near the end of her life when she became homeless and struggled to make ends meet. The documentary delves deeper into her mysterious life and the discovery of her artworks.