lija Bašičević was born in 1895 in Šid, where he died in 1972. He was a peasant, he had only four grades of elementary school. But Ilija Bašičević Bosilj at the same time is one of the most enigmatic and interesting painter in the Serbian / Yugoslavian painting world in sixties, period of the last century, He began painting suddenly, and only at sixty-two years of age. Prior to that, he was hard working man exclusively dedicated to his own land, the state later took away his land from him, in order to drown his frustration he began to paint. Ilija had two sons, Vojin and Dimitrije, and the descendants at the time of Ilija's early days as a painter already represented an important figures of the Croatian and Yugoslavian artistic theories, and practice. Therefore, it is enough to mention his involvement in establishing of modern Croatian Museum of naive art in Zagreb, and later a monograph about Mirko Viriusu, Sava Sumanovic, and John Generalic, taking part in the cult Gorgona group, as well as a more than worthy artistic actions with pseudonym Mangelos.
Ilijada's Promenade, 1962.
Dimitrije his son, he did not understand father's painting obsession in the beginning, he destroyed his early works relentlessly! He considered that the only Hlebin Naive school variant type could offer something interesting in the context of contemporary art. Ilija kept strongly pseudonym Bosilj, and painted often deep into the night, He painted on anything he could find and think of, in city of Šid, in that time painting canvas was hard to find an purchase, so he literally used almost everything to paint on, walls, beds, cabinets, umbrellas, and many similar materials and surfaces. Fascinating and with a gesture, bold work of art, he created that way, where observer can see mostly two headed creatures and weird animals, and as basic content, it is possible to recognize stories from the Bible, scenes from the Apocalypse, different myths, as well as details of everyday rural life in his art. His son will, of course, soon become aware of this strange coexistence of naive and modernism featured in the paintings of father Bosil. But it was just the introduction to a big scandal! Journalists and some of the actual cultural workers in that time deny uneducated peasant from Šid the ownership and authorship, arguing that the author must be someone else, most likely Dimitrije. They created unpleasant, often-humiliating public controversy between father and son, in order to solve problem public draws drastic measure. The Zagreb Cultural Council of Education establishes a commission composed of the most prominent experts. Bašićevic Bosilj painted live in front of commission and thus proved his authenticity. The Commission members Zdenka Munk, Vjenceslav Richter, Matko Meštrović and Radoslav Putar - the last two were Dimitri's co members in Gorgoni - deny such treatment but still, with the purpose of resolving the problem, agreed to work this painful job. Bosil's authorship, of course, was confirmed, but bitterness remained. Ilija Bašičević Bosilj during his life exhibited dozens solo and group exhibitions, both in Serbia and abroad. His synthesis of naive, expressionist, fauvism, surrealism, enforme, and - according to Grgi Gamulino - art brute, today he gained the status of classic artist. The Zagreb audience, for the first time after more than a quarter of a century, in Kranjcar Gallery is able to see the forty paintings of this exceptional author. This is a successful collaboration between the Ilija & Mangelos Foundation from Novi Sad and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Istra under the coordination of Mladen Lucic, and an exhibition after Pula, Sibenik and Zagreb in July also moves to Osijek. Recommendation: Be sure to visit!