Tuesday, 6 March 2018


F.N. Souza

Francis Newton Souza was born in the year 1924 in Saligao, a small town in the state of Goa. Tragedy struck him at a very young age, when he lost his father. He was also bogged down by a serious attack of small pox. Such incidents provoked him to create his own niche in this world. Francis Newton Souza took admission into the Sir J.J. School of Art of Mumbai. But, was expelled for participating in the Quit India Movement. Thereafter, he founded Progressive Artist's Movement in 1947, along with S.H. Raza, M.F, Hussain, K.H. Ara, etc.

F.N. Souza's biography and life history tells us that he left the country in 1949 and went to London to pursue his interest in painting. After struggling for a few years, he finally received recognition in the 1950's with his solo exhibition at the 'Gallery One' in London. Around the same time, his autobiographical essay 'Nirvana of a Maggot' was published. In 1959, another one of his books 'Words and Lines' was published and it received literary recognition.

In the year 1967, F.N. Souza migrated to the New York City in America. He participated in the 'Commonwealth Artists of Fame' exhibition in London in 1977. Souza participated in an exhibition in Detroit in 1968. His retrospectives were held in New Delhi and Mumbai in 1987. Francis Newton Souza also had shows at the 'Indus Gallery' of Karachi in 1988 and the 'Bose Pacia Modern' of New York in 1998. He breathed his last in the year 2002. Presently, the paintings of F.N. Souza adorn the Tate Gallery of London and the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.

His Style
The subjects covered in the paintings of Francis Newton Souza comprise of still life, landscape, nudes, icons of Christianity, etc. One of the most recurring themes is that of the conflicts in a man-woman relationship. However, the figures have been deliberately distorted and reveal an uninhibited and realistic style. Souza was a rebel and non-conformist and these views reflect in his painting style also. At the same time, there is a visible influence of the folk art of Goa, the Renaissance paintings, landscapes of the 18th and 19th century Europe, etc.

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