Russian sculptor, one of her country's outstanding artists in the early 20th century. She was born in Zaraysk, the daughter of a market gardener, and studied in Moscow and St Petersburg before making two visits to Paris (1895–6 and 1897). During the first of these she studied at the Académie Colarossi and during the second she met Rodin, whose vigorous surfaces and Symbolist leanings strongly influenced her work (she later wrote to him: ‘While I live I shall always venerate you as a great artist and the person who gave me the possibility of life’). After her return to Russia she settled in Moscow. Golubkina was principally renowned as a portraitist, and one of her most famous works is the first sculptural portrait of Karl Marx (1905, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow). It was typical of her character that she donated her fee for this to a fund for homeless workers, for she had passionate humanistic convictions and took an active part in the Russian Revolution of 1905; two years later she was imprisoned for distributing literature that urged peasants to ‘overthrow the Tsar and the government’, but she was soon released because of ill-health. In 1914–15 she organized an exhibition of her work at the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow ‘in aid of the war-wounded’. From 1918 to 1921 she taught at Svomas and then Vkhutemas. She worked mainly in bronze, but also in marble and wood. Following serious illness in 1924, she concentrated on smaller works, including cameos.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.