Branko Paradis, an American, Self-taught, Naive art oil painter, was born on the kitchen table as bombs fell in Zagreb, Croatia in 1942. He began to paint in childhood, and traded family food for colors and materials.
By the late 1960s, Paradis was part of a popular group of Croatian Naive art artists, known as the Yugoslav Primitives. After several exhibitions in Croatia, Switzerland and Venezuela, he had the opportunity to go to America, which always had been a ongoing dream for him. In 1970, he arrived in New York.
In 1972, the Director of Galerie St. Etienne on W. 57th Street, having heard about Paradis' work in Europe, invited him to join a major group exhibition featuring artists of the Naive art movement in the Balkans. This was a major show that brought East European Naive art to the heart of NYC, and brought further attention to Paradis. From 1977-78, he had his first one-man solo show in New York at Hammer Galleries, which proved to be a turning point in Paradis' career. Since then, his work has been collected and enjoyed by many.
Paradis' themes and subjects have varied through the years. Vivid memories of snow and rural peasant life remain with him, and he continues to paint them. In the late 1990s, he directed his love and energy to his African animals, and was the beginning of his popular and unique Naive African Animals Collection. Paradis' genuine love and respect for the USA has always been his inspiration in many of his images. And, most recently, his 2016 collection of Reverse Oil Paintings Collection gives us the opportunity to view his skill in this medium which began years ago in Croatia.
At 75, Branko Paradis remains seriously and lovingly true to his seemingly simple naive style. This offers us a beautiful and much-needed respite from the chaotic life and world around us. His unique and enchanting work offers us an innocence and honesty that is missed in everyday modern life. It is intended that the viewer relax within the image and just enjoy, requiring no separate analysis or explanation. Branko Paradis' masterful and uncomplicated work continues to delight a range of admirers -- art lovers, collectors, and of course, the children.