Nicolas Iljine studied mathematics at the Sorbonne and specialized in Public Relations. As General Manager for the World for Lufthansa Airlines, he also elaborated and implemented cultural sponsorship programs. He acted as representative for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for corporate development, sponsorship, and PR in Europe and the Near East. Iljine played a key role in creating and implementing such museum projects as Guggenheim Bilbao, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin with Deutsche Bank, Guggenheim-Hermitage in Las Vegas, as well as the development of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. He curated architectural competitions for designing museums, organized several major Russian exhibitions at the Guggenheim, and three contemporary Russian art shows in Art Basel Miami. He worked jointly with the French architect Jean Nouvel on the design of the Museum of Modern Art in Baku. He acted as Vice-President for International Development at GCAM (Global Cultural Asset Management Group), involving issues related to museum construction, collection building, management programming, and art investment.
He acts as Consultant on international cooperation and contemporary culture in Russia to several European cultural institutions. Iljine forced the Ministry of Culture of France to hand over 6 works by the Russian artist Pavel Filonov, stolen in the late 1970s from the State Russian Museum in Leningrad and illegally taken out of the country. Author, editor and co-publisher of several works, he was awarded the Order of Friendship, signed by President Vladimir Putin. He is also the founding member of the Board of Trustees of Kandinsky Prize, and member of the Paris Society of Emperor Alexander III for developing cultural and political ties between Russia and France. Iljine serves as the Educational Activities Advisor at the M.T. Abraham Foundation.