Vladislovas Žilius

(1939 - 2012)


Vladislovas Žilius was born in 1939 in Varsneliai, the district of Šilalė. In 1964 he graduated from the Lithuanian State Art Institute. He taught drawing at M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art in 1965 and at Vilnius Engineering Construction Institute in 1972. Later on he worked for Vaga publishers, and afterwards for Mintis publishers as chief artist. Since 1964 he participated in exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad (in Malbork, Krakow and Barcelona). He hosted individual exhibitions, including informal. In 1974 Vladislovas Žilius was accused of formalism and kicked out of the Lithuanian Artists' Association, also lost his job in the publishing house and has suffered moral and material discrimination. In 1976 he was allowed to emigrate and left for the USA. He was based in New York. After Lithuania regained its independence, Vladislovas Žilius repeatedly visited the homeland. He had several exhibitions in Vilnius – at the Contemporary Art Centre, as well as in the Gallery Vartai. At the invitation of Vilnius Academy of Arts he led summer courses for students and participated in several group exhibitions. He died in New York City and was buried in Lithuania, Kaltinėnai.


Vladislovas Žilius was a graphic artist, painter, illustrator and sculptor. He was one of the most stubborn gifted modernists who from the sixties could not conciliate to the Soviet system. Some of his exhibitions were held only in closed private spaces. Vladislovas Žilius has illustrated and designed books for adults and children, as well as theatre and film sets and costumes. At the end of the 1960s, he developed an interest in abstract art and Pop Art, employing their principles in his easel paintings, which he could not exhibit publicly because of Soviet censorship. After settling in New York at leisure he devoted himself to painting, and from 1995 he began to create reliefs, dimensional sculptures from wood, synthetic glass and metal. His abstract compositions were inspired by different emotional experiences, seen images – archaeological findings, micro worlds. Most of the works are created impromptu, without prior sketches. Colours, tones and semitones, lines and lights streamed from one picture to another.