LOT NO.
31

Francis Newton Souza

Red Houses with Front Garden
oil on board
36 x 24 in. (91.5 x 61 cm.)
painted in 1957
Winning Bid: $ 220,000
Estimate: US$ 150,000 - 250,000
Lot Closed

Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Souza 57' (lower right)
Further signed, titled and dated 'F.N. SOUZA / RED HOUSES WITH FRONT GARDEN / 1957' (on the reverse)

PROVENANCE
Maurice Jadot
Private collection, UK (By descent)
Grosvenor Gallery, London
Private collection, Dubai

EXHIBITED AND PUBLISHED
South Asian Modern Masters / 19 May - 9 June 2017 / Grosvenor Gallery / London / No. 1
South Asian Modern Masters exhibition catalogue (iilustrated)

Francis Newton Souza is arguably one of the greatest and most celebrated painter in the history of Indian contemporary art. Versatile and spontaneous over the command of his pen and brush, his facility with his craft shows in the diversity of his works. From landscapes, nudes, still-life and to his widely popular strongly drawn heads, Souza spanned the entire gamut.

Painted in 1957, the picture is part of the culmination of both technique and subject in the artist's prime decade. "Red Houses with Front Garden" depicts an English suburban landscape in Souza's signature strong and expressive style. The houses, situated in a grassy space, are rendered in simple rectilinear structures punctuated by gnarled trees. The trees set in the foreground give the picture a sense of depth. Unlike other artists, Souza's landscape is not figurative or life-like, instead they are vehicles of his mood and expression. Inspired by the ecclesiastical architecture of the Roman Catholic churches from his native Goa, the palette of the work was indicative of Souza's interest in stained-glass windows illustrated with his use of luminous hues framed by dark outlines. Like his other landscapes, the sky appears stormy and turbulent lending a disconcerting sense in the otherwise peaceful scenario. This can be attributed to Souza's angular brush strokes.

Francis Newton Souza

(1924 - 2002)
Born in 1924 in Saligao, Goa, Souza was expelled from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, in 1942 for taking part in the ‘Quit India’ freedom movement. He went on to found the Progressive Artist’s Group in 1948, before leaving for London a year later. In 1955 Souza held a one-man show at Gallery One in London and also had his autobiographical essay ‘Nirvana of a Maggot’ published. He was awarded the John Moore Prize at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool in 1957 and received an Italian Government Scholarship in 1960. In 1959 a collection of his autobiographical essays, ‘Words and Lines’, was published, and in 1962 a monograph on his work by Edwin Mullins was published as well. In 1967 Souza migrated to New York where he received the Guggenheim International Award. Two retrospectives of his work were organized by Art Heritage, New Delhi, in 1986 and 1996. Souza also participated in a work-live programme in Los Angeles, hosted by Saffronart in 2001. Souza passed away in Mumbai 2002. Some important posthumous exhibition of his work include, ‘F.N. Souza’ at Saffronart and Grosvenor Gallery, New York, in 2008; ‘F.N. Souza: Religion & Erotica’ at Tate Britain, London, in 2005-06; ‘Self-Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2005; and ‘Francis Newton Souza’ at Saffronart and Grosvenor Gallery, New York and London, in 2005.