Ilija! His First American Exhibtion
Ilija Bosilj Basicevic... On Ilijada: Birds with Winged Friend (1963, Gouache on heavy paper). From Ilija! His First American Exhibtion, January 17 to March 18, 2006 at Galerie St. Etienne in New York, NY. "...The artist now known simply as Ilija is one of the most enigmatic painters to emerge from the land formerly known as Yugoslavia. Born Ilija Basicevic in 1895, he received international acclaim in the 1960s and '70s under the pseudonym Ilija Bosilj. Despite his impressive exhibition and publication history, however, the Serbian-born Ilija was at the time somewhat overshadowed by the more heavily promoted 'naives' from the Yugoslav republic of Croatia. Indeed, his work stands in sharp contrast to the Croatians' crisply rendered scenes of idyllic peasant life and farmland. Ilija's subject matter depicts no recognizable world, but rather a nearly abstract parallel universe concocted by the artist from an amalgam of local history, myths, Biblical tales and imagination. Beyond the arena of squabbling 'naives,' 'outsiders' and 'folk' artists, Ilija stands alone, as puzzling as he is compelling."