Signed and dated 'Souza 63' (lower centre left)
Saffronart / Lot 70 / December Auction / 2006
Born in 1924, Francis Newton Souza grew up in the Portuguese Catholic colony of Goa. It is needless to say that his unique upbringing loomed substantially over the artist and his early themes. For Souza, the church remained a constant source of inspiration and imagery, which he deliberately and extensively used in his still life paintings. Geeta Kapur recounts his still lifes as consisting ‘of things used in liturgical practice. They are mostly ornate vessels and sacred objects. These objects retain their ritual aspect both on account of the visual description and composition [...] They are moreover, clustered formally as if on the shelf of the sacristy [...] His objects belong neither to the intimate comforts of a home nor to the grandeur of the market-place, both environments being specifically bourgeois in their origins. Very curiously in the object-world he reclaims the sense of the sacred that he so consciously drains from the human being and from God.’ (Geeta Kapur, Contemporary Indian Artists, New Delhi, 1978, p. 29-30).