In her last years, when Vivian was experiencing financial difficulties and could not pay her rent regularly, the landlord put up the boxes of Vivian's works at auction and immediately found a buyer. It was 26 years old John Maloof, a real estate agent. In 2007 he purchased over 100,000 negatives for only $380.
"I was one of the few buyers at that auction. I googled 'Vivian Maier', but the search did not come up with anything. In 2009, when I came across an envelope with her name in one of the boxes I decided to search for information about her once again. I found the obituary of her death, published just a few days earlier! Vivian Maier has become my life since then"— John Maloof.
When John realized the potential value of the discovered pictures, he began promoting them in galleries, museums and photo hosting sites. The first exhibition of Vivian Maier's works took place in 2011 in Chicago, for which Maloof printed more than 80 photographs of Maier.