Milan Stanisavljević

Born in 1944 in the village of Jabučje in Serbia

Born in 1944 in the village of Jabucje in Serbia, Milan Stanisavljevic started sculpting in 1960. He has always worked in black oak, which the experts from the Kolubara mine estimate to be anywhere from 10 to as many as 100,000 years old.

The first review of his work appeared in llustrovana Politika in 1962, when he was only 18 years old. His first solo exhibit took place a year later, at the Little Gallery of Sinisa Paunovic on Dedinje. The following year, his work was exhibited at the Cultural Center of Belgrade and, in a joint exhibition with prof Ivan Tabakovic, at the Gallery of the Graphic Collective in Belgrade.

Since the very beginning, his work has met with critical acclaim, and has been categorized and compared with that of preeminent contemporary sculptors like Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso.

To date, Milan has participated in 40 solo and about 250 joint exhibitions, both in Serbia and abroad, where he has represented his country on more than 80 occasions. He has received numerous awards and acknowledgments at judged art shows throughout the world, in which he participated alongside other acclaimed modern, naive and outsider artists.

He is a founding curator and major artistic contributor to the Nikola Tesla Museum at the Plitvice National Park, founded in 1981. Milan proudly holds a patent for the Reverse Sled with the Moving Seat Which Retains Horizontal Position (1985). 

He is also the only naive artist member of ULUS (Association of Visual Artists of Serbia) and he participates regularly in the Association’s collective exhibits.

It is Milan’s hope that the body of work he has created over the last 50 years has contributed to the development of both contemporary and naive art and has become a part of the collective cultural heritage of his country and the world at large.

Useful links


Canada and USA: Yugoslav Naive Paintings and Sculpture Exhibit, shown in 22 cities in 1969,1970 and 1971. Organized by the Zagreb Museum of Naive Art; participants from Serbia selected by Oto Bihalji Merin.

Bratislava, Slovakia: Triennial of Naive Art, Oto Bihalji Merin and Dr Boris Kelemen, selectors. (1969.)

Zagreb, Croatia: Naive Art Museum– four sculptures exhibited in Naiva 70, World Naive Artists, Oto Bihalji Merin, selector. (1970.)

Rome, Italy: Palazzo delle Esposizioni– Exhibit of Naive Art of Serbia, Oto Bihalji Merin, selector. Seven sculptures exhibited: Mad fashion; Human Machine ; Family, Wedding Lament; Birth; Taking Measure; Love and Hate (1971.)

Belgrade, Serbia: Museum of Contemporary Art– Six Naive Artists (1972)

Stutgart, Recklinghausen, Bonn, Germany: Was war, was 1st: Skulpturen naiver Kuenstler aus Jugoslawien (What Was, What Is: Sculptures of Naive Artists from Yugoslavia), Forum for Cultural Exchange of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations. The youngest of the ten artists who participated in the exhibit, Milan contributed the largest number of works (18). His sculpture Angel (1971) was acquired and now stands on the portico of the Recklinghausen Museum. (1972.)

Zagreb, Croatia: Museum of Naive Art– international exhibit Naiva 73,  Oto Bihalji Merin, president and member of the jury of Yugoslav selectors. Six sculptures featured included: Poet; Death and Birth; Baby Mama; Urination; Human Machine; Raven.  (1973.)

Munich, Germany: Museum of Contemporary Art– Naive Artists, Topics and Relations (Die Kunst der Naiven, Themen und Beziehungen); Haus der Kunst– Naive Artists of the World.  Four sculptures featured: Wedding Lament, Human Machine, Baby Mama, and Eagle. (1974)

Zurich, Switzerland: Contemporary Art Museum– Naive Artists of the World, (1975.)

Edinburgh, Scotland: Demarco Gallery– Aspects 75- Contemporary Yugoslav Art, (1975.)

Dublin, Ireland: The City Art Gallery– Contemporary Yugoslav Art, (1975.)

Paris, France: Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais– Yougoslave peintres et sculpteurs naifs (Naive Painters and Sculptors of Yugoslavia), Milan contributed six sculptures. (1976.)

Zagreb, Croatia: solo exhibit at International Biennial- Naive Artists 77. As a winner of the First Prize at the Naive Artists ’73 Biennial, Milan exhibited his three-meter tall sculpture Three Headed Man at the entrance to the Museum of Naive Art. (1977.)

Svetozarevo, Serbia: Museum of the Self-Taught Artists– First Biennial of Yugoslav Self-Taught Art, Oto Bihalji Merin, president of the organizing committee and president of the Yugoslav selection committee.  (1981.)

London, England:The Royal Festival Ha\\~ New Frontiers of Naive Art in Europe, July 21 to August 19 1985. Exhibition organized to celebrate 100 years of Naive art and promote The World Encyclopedia of Naive Art, a seminal work subsequently translated into 48 languages. 54 of the most important works of the Yugoslav Naive art, as selected by Oto Bihalji Merin, were exhibited, including Milan’s Adam and Eve, Wedding Lament, and Born of Himself. Adam and Eve, positioned in the central hall, where the book signing took place, garnered particular attention. Milan’s sculptures are first referred to in the very Introduction of The Encyclopedia, mentioned with the works of Henri Russeau and Pablo Picasso, with Human Machine depicted alongside Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Human Machine is now on permanent exhibit at Le Musee de L’Art Brut in Lausanne; Wedding Lament is at the Ethnographic Museum of Belgrade. (1985.)

Belgrade, Serbia: Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavillion– 26th October Salon of Visual and Applied Art ofSerbia (1985).

Munich, Germany: Galerie Charlotte, Solo Exhibit fl 986)

Zagreb, Croatia: Gallery of Naive Art, Solo Exhibit (1988), featuring 33 sculptures.

Belgrade, Serbia: Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavillion– 29th October Salon of Visual and Applied Art ofSerbia (1988)

Zagreb, Croatia: Museum of Naive Art- Exhibit of Naive Art of Yugoslavia from the Museum’s Permanent Collection (1989)

Bor, Serbia: Balkan Writers’ Encounters at Bor– Solo Exhibit: Sculptures of Milan Stanisavljevic (1989)

Kecskemet, Hungary: Hungarian Museum of Naive Art– Naive Art of Serbia (1994)

Belgrade, Serbia: Museum of the 25th of May– 37th October Salon (1996)

Bratislava, Slovakia: The Slovak National Gallery– Insita ’97 V Trienale insitneho umenia (Fifth Triennial of Naive Art) (1997)

Minsk, Belarus: Museum of Contemporary Art– Naive Art of Yugoslavia (1998)

Bratislava, Slovakia: Sixth Triennial of Naive art, 2000. Organized by the Slovak National Gallery, sponsored by UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture of Slovakia. Awarded Grand Prix Insita 2000, the highest honor for exhibited sculpture. The award included the right to a monographic exhibition at the following triennial. The Seventh World Triennial subsequently featured a large retrospective exhibit of Milan’s work in the INHEB Gallery in Bratislava.

Belgrade, Serbia: Gallery of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU)– Naive Art of Serbia, 2003. Selectors included Dr Jesa Denegri, Museum of Naive Art

Jagodina, and SANU. Eight of Milan’s sculptures were featured and his sculpture Raven was placed in front of SANU. He was the only living artist of the five featured in the exhibit as Distinguished Naive Artists of Serbia.

Martigny, Swtizerland: Manoir de la Ville— Encounters and Bypasses. Exhibit examined the contemporary visual art scene of Serbia from a variety of perspectives: the conventional, the academic, and the intuitive. It featured works of naive, outsider and academically educated artists from Serbia.

Belgrade, Serbia: Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavillion, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences-Spring Exhibit, 2005 and Summer Exhibit,, 2005.

Paris, France: Musee Hallee St Pierre, and Ville D’Oyonnax– international exhibit L’espritde la foret (Spirit of the Forest), 2006. As the French press pointed out, this exhibit featured artists from Finland, Canada, Switzerland, USA and “one Serb.” Fifteen of Milan’s sculptures were exhibited and widely noted by the critics of Le Figaro, Art-Spectacles, llustrovana Politika andTelerama, among others. Three of Milan’s sculptures from the exhibit were featured in the magazine Art-Spectacles and his Prehistorical Bird was reproduced on an invitation to the show.

Zagreb, Croatia: Croatian Museum of Naive Art, Vladimir Crnkovic, director– Art Without Borders, 2006. Exhibition of World Masters of Naive Art from the permanent collection of the Croatian Museum.

Cairo, Egypt: Museum of Contemporary Art– Tenth International Cairo Biennial, Participated by the special invitation of the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak. Gold Medal winner. Mr. M. Petrovsky, director of the Moscow State Hermitage Museum presided over the Selection Committee; other members included Prof Cortenova, Director of the Museum of Modern Art,  (2006.)

Verona, Italy; Mr Perini, Director, Center for Contemporary Art, Milan, Italy; Mr Hegyi, Museum of Modern Art, Saint-Etienne, France; and Mr Ashid of the Orozco Museum in Mexico.

Belgrade, Serbia: Euro Art Gallery– Art Brut, Exhibited with painters Sava Sekulic, llija Bosilj, Emerik Fejes, Vojislav Jakic. (2008.)

Belgrade, Serbia: Euro Art Gallery– Serbian Contemporary Art, 2008. Milan’s work was once again shown alongside that of preeminent modern painters–Jovan Bijelic, IvanTabakovic, Petar Lubarda, Marko Celebonovic, and Zora Petrovic.

Drvengrad,  Serbia: Mokra Gora, Mecavnik, Gallery Macola– Solo Exhibit (2010)

Bratislava,  Slovakia, Naive and Marginal Artists of Serbia, Exhibition Hall of the Ministry of Culture (2010.)

Belgrade, Serbia: Hall of the National Bank of Serbia, special event for the Museum Night, (2011.)

Trebnje,  Slovenia, Naive and Marginal Art of Serbia, Gallery of Fine Artists (2011.)

Jagodina, Serbia,  Erotica in the Works of Naive and Marginal Artists, Museum of Naive and Marginal Art, (2012.)

Paris, France,  Outsiders, Cultural Center of Serbia (2013.)

Prague,  Czech Republic, Charles Bridge Gallery (2015.)

Kikinda,  Serbia, Jewels of Naive Art, Exhibition of work from the MNMU Collection, Terra Gallery (2015.)

Kragujevac,  Serbia, Naive and Marginal Art of Serbia, Amidža Konak (2016.)

Belgrade,  Serbia, The First Triennial of Art of Self-taught Visionaries, Art Pavilion “Cvijeta Zuzorić” (2016.)

Paris,  France, Turbulence in the Balkans, Sant Pier Gallery, (Halle Saint Pierre) (2017.)

Belgrade, Serbia,  Self-taught Visionaries of Serbia, King Peter’s House (2018.)

Belgrade, Serbia,  Magical Vitality of the Marginal, Art Pavilion “Cvijeta Zuzorić” (2018.)

Renan,  France,  Juices of Life, Lipa Farm, (La Ferme des Tilleuls à Renens) (2019.)


Notable  museum collections

1.   Le Musee d I’Art Brut (Lausanne, Switzerland) – 3 sculptures

2.   Recklinghausen Museum (Recklinghausen, Germany) – Angel

3.   The Croatian Museum of Naive Art (Zagreb, Croatia) – 7 sculptures

4.   Museum of Naive Art (Jagodina, Serbia) – 13 sculptures

5.   The Ethnographic Museum (Belgrade, Serbia) – 1.  Angel (1967) –  2. Wedding Lament (1969)

6.   Trebnje Gallery of Naive Artists (Trebnje, Slovenia) – 2 sculptures

7.   Galerie Guenther Kaufmann (Oberdorf, Germany) – 4 sculptures

8.   Museum Charlotte Zander – Bönnigheim, Germany -1 sculpture

9.   People’s Museum (Valjevo, Serbia) – 2 sculptures

10. Nikola Tesla Museum (Plitvice, Croatia) – 25 sculptures

11. Museum of Vukand & Dositej (Belgrade, Serbia) – Vuk : Portrait (1964)

Notable private collections

Ivan Tabakovic;  Oto Bihalji Merin;  Carl Sharek,  American Cultural Attache; Djordje Kadijevic;  Emir Kusturica film director;  Yul Brynner an actor ; Prof. Dr. Bertold Hok;   Todor Stevanovic;  Pulika Jevtic;  Dobrica Eric;  Ljubomir Simovic;  Svetozar and Zdenka Brkic;  Vladeta Jerotic;  Veljko Bulajic;  Vladeta Kosutic;  Ivan Draganic;  Zdravko Velimirovic;  Petar Volk;  Srecko Podvinec;  Vukasin Savic; T.G. Rosenthal, art critic;  Jan Zehner;  Karl Depo, collector, Belgium;  Bernando Bernardi, architect;  Slobodan Chochic an architect and many others.


Notable Awards

International Exhibition of Contemporary Art (Rome, Italy 1969) – Silver Plaque

Workers’University Djuro Salaj (Serbia, 1969) – First Place

Workers’University Djuro Salaj (Serbia, 1971) – First Place

Djordje Andrejevic-Kun Award (1972) – Grand Prize

Exhibition of the Naive Art of the World, Naiva 73 (Zagreb, Croatia 1973) – Grand Prize

Winston (Ljubljana, Slovenia 1975) – First place and solo exhibit at the following biennial, 1977;

Grand Prix De La Collection Biennial of Naive Art, Jagodina (Serbia)– Special Recognition (1981);

Grand Prize (1983);

Special Recognition (1989);

Grand Prize (1989)

International Biennial (Bratislava, 2000) – Grand Priz

Insita Tenth International Biennial (Cairo, Egypt 2006) – Gold Medal


Extraction of Black Oak from the Kolubara River Peat