Signed and dated 'Souza 1971' (upper left)
Acquired directly from the artist
Vinod Bhardwaj, Francis Newton Souza: Dhoomimal Gallery Collection, Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi, p. 178 (illustrated)
F.N. Souza's signature drawing of heads is often characterized by robust features and a general feeling of grimness. He depicted the critical and unattractive portrait of others through these heads, yet he did not spare himself. This portrait of a man, which can arguably be considered to be a self-portrait, proves that Souza's works were self-involved and intensely personal to the point of being esoteric.
His ability to impart solidity to the head with minimum reliance on expressiveness and hatch lines while staying within intensely personal boundaries was one of his strong suit as an artist. By using overlapping lines and subtle nuances, he gave added vitality to the overall work. Here, the head seems to be disintegrating. The pockmark scars on the face may reflect Souza's condition - he had a severe attack of smallpox that left him scarred and brought him on the brink of an infant's grave.