Jaan Elken (born 1957 in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia) is a painter, art critic, curator, and art teacher. He started his career with hyper-realistic paintings in 1970s and became one of the most significant abstract painters in Estonian art.
Elken has held more than 60 personal exhibitions, including in Adamson-Eric Museum (2000), Tallinn Art Hall (2005), Tartu Art Museum (2005), in Berlin, Kiev, Kotka, Uppsala, Turku, Riga etc.
He has published more than 200 writings on art and arts policy. Elken has been the head of the Estonian Painters’ Union (1995-1999) and the president of Estonian Artists’ Association (1999-2013). Since 1997 he is a professor of the Chair of painting at The Institute of Cultural Research and Fine arts at the University of Tartu.
Prizes: Kristjan Raud Award, Estonia (2006), ES Sadolin Prize, Estonia (2002), Konrad Mägi Prize, Estonia (2000), Prize of Deco Gallery, Estonia (1998), Annual exhibition of Estonian painting Confrotations / Agreements, prize of Estonian Artists’ Association (1997), 6th Vilnius Painting Triennial, prize of the Vilnius Town Council, Lithuania (1984), Exhibition of Young Artists. Prize, Tallinn (1983), 2nd Triennal of Baltic Young Artists, diploma, Vilnius, Lithuania (1982), Young Artist of the Year, Estonia (1980),Triennial of Baltic Young Artists, Grand Prix, Vilnius, Lithuania (1979) and others.
Works in collections: Art Museum of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, Tallinn Art Hall Collection, Tartu University Museum, Vilnius Town Council Art Collection (Lithuania), Viinistu Art Museum, Museum of New Art of Pärnu, Academy Nord, Sampo Bank, ES Sadolin collection, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Konstfrämjandet Gallery (Stockholm, Sweden), Tretjakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Güstrow Town Council Art Collection (Germany), Artists’ Union Exhibition Centre (Moscow, Russia), Russian Art Foundation, International Images (Sewickley, USA), Norton Dodge Collection, Zimmerli Art Museum (New Jersey, USA), In several private collections in Estonia, Russia, USA, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Canada, Brazil, etc.