Elena Dobrovolskaya is a Russian portraitist based in New York. Classically-trained under Oleg Leonov, a member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, Dobrovolskaya blends the core tenets of Northern Renaissance painters with the graphic aesthetic of Post Impressionism. From Holbein she takes the deep blues and greens of the background, from Durer the dark reds, from Gauguin the flat surfaces and thick outlines. The elegant simplicity of Dobrovolskaya’s paintings is deceitfully effortless. Rather, it rests on solid drawing foundations and skillful color layering, a process that can last up to one month. Dobrovolskaya paints exclusively in oils from live models, as it allows her to best capture the energy of her subject. Her palette is very limited for the clothes and background as opposed to the skin, whereby she builds a hypnotic luminosity that draws the viewer’s attention to the face. Pensive, dreamy, and overall intriguing; each figure inhabits a world only half-revealed, inviting us to probe further. What are these people’s thoughts? What are they looking at? What has just happened? The possibilities are endless and it is this very aura of mystery that keeps them forever alive.
Dobrovolskaya has exhibited broadly in Europe and the United States and had her first solo show at Artifact, a New York-based gallery, in 2021. She was awarded the 2019 Diego Velazquez Art Price, the 2019 Artist of the Year prize at the Mantova ArtExpo, and the Leonardo da Vinci Prize in 2020. Her art appeared in French, Italian, and British magazines, most notably House & Garden, CQ, and Aesthetica as well as the art catalog, “50 Artists to Invest in” and “Trends in Art: Insights for Collectors” in 2021. Dobrovolskaya received a personal invitation from the President and Founder of Florence Biennale Pasquale Celona to participate in Florence Biennale XIIIth edition in October 2021 and will also participate in the Art Biennale of Argentina.