Ruth Orkin photographs go under the hammer in centennial celebration

·2-min read
'American Girl in Italy' by Ruth Orkin (1951) will go under the hammer at Bonhams in an upcoming online auction.

Ruth Orkin would have turned 100 in September. Marking the occasion, Bonhams New York is celebrating the late American photographer with its upcoming "Photographs by Ruth Orkin" sale, held online January 22 to February 2.

Ruth Orkin was drawn to photography very early in life. She received her first camera at the age of 10 and, two years later, she started to develop and print her own pictures from film. After growing up in Hollywood, she later moved to New York in the 1940s, where she photographed babies by day and revelers in fashionable clubs by night.

Ruth Orkin also worked for many magazines, including LIFE, which sent her on a shoot to Israel. During the same trip, she traveled to Italy where she took one of her best-known photographs, "American Girl in Italy." The black and white picture -- which shows a young American girl turning the heads of local men as she walks down a Florence street -- will soon go under the hammer in the upcoming "Photographs by Ruth Orkin" sale. It is estimated to fetch between US$800 and $1,200 by auctioneers, Bonhams.

The sale will feature images tracing the American photographer's career, estimated to fetch between $800 and $7,000. Some photographs, such as "Mother and Daughter, Penn Station" have become veritable classics, while others are more rare and surprising, such as a photograph featuring the American filmmaker Orson Welles at a costume ball looking meaningfully at a guest.

"[Ruth Orkin] had an impressive and successful career as a photojournalist and portraitist and these photographs, taken at home ... and whilst on her many travels, are full of unusual warmth and intimacy. It is a real privilege to be able [to] offer a selection of her captivating images in what will be the centenary of her birth," said Laura Paterson, Bonhams head of photographs.

"Photographs by Ruth Orkin : A Centennial Celebration," takes place January 22-February 2.