American artist, Branko Paradis, was born as bombs fell in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1942. By age ten, he was trading family food for pencils and colors in order to “make pictures.” Paradis is a Self-taught artist, who has never had any formal art training. His work was classified as Naive. It was a hard life growing up in Croatia, and Paradis’ ongoing dream was to make his way to America.
By the 1960s, Paradis was participating in exhibitions with other Croatian artists who were part of the Naive art movement in the Balkins. There were other exhibitions in Switzerland and Venezuela. Finally, he had the opportunity to leave Croatia, and in 1970, he arrived in New York.
In 1972, having heard about Paradis’ work in Croatia and Europe, Dr. Otto Kallir, Director of Galerie St. Etienne on W. 57th Street in New York, invited him to participate in major group exhibition featuring the Croatian Naive art movement in Europe at that time. It was a very successful show, and brought important attention to Paradis as a new artist in New York.
From 1977-78, by invitation of Dr Armand Hammer, Director of Hammer Galleries, Paradis had his first major solo exhibition. It's success proved to be a major turning point for him, as he finally began to enjoy this life as an American artist.
Paradis’ themes and subjects have always varied. Vivid memories of snow and peasants remain with him, and he continues to paint them. In the late 1990s, he vigorously began the creation of his “Naïve Art African Animals Collection.” Many of these images were published and his limited editions have also been collected. Paradis’ love for the USA still inspires him, and this is seen even in newer work. Rarely seen are his “Erotic Femme” paintings.
Now at 76, Branko Paradis continues to paint and work in his NYC studio. In his unique and seemingly simple way, he continues to offer us his love and sincerity as an artist. He gives us an honesty and tranquility that is often missed in modern life. His unique and enchanting work continues to be admired and collected.
Paradis accepts commissions for paintings that are no longer available. Studio visits in NYC are welcomed. Please inquire.
With best regards from Branko,