Francis Newton Souza

Francis Newton Souza the founder of the Progressive Artist's Group in 1947 is 'best known for his inventive human forms particularly the heads. Born in Goa in 1924 he was a student at the J.J. School of Art from where he was expelled in 1942 for participating in the Quit India Movement. He left for London in 1949 where after an initial period of struggle his work began to have an impact. The Institute of Contemporary Arts included his work in a group exhibition in 1954 to be followed by a solo show at Gallery one in 1955. The publication of his autobiographical piece 'Nirvana of a Maggot' in Encounter magazine that was then edited by the poet Stephen Spender also won him recognition.

A series of exhibition that followed did well and were reviewed by well-known art critics like John Berger who noted that Souza & 6straddles many traditions but serves none". Apart from his paintings he proved to be very articulate and an ingenious writer as his book "Words and Lines" published in London in 1959 revealed. He was on his way to being recognized as an outstanding painter when he left for the United States and settled in New York in 1967. Souza participated in the Common wealth Artists of Fame exhibition in London in 1977 and has had several exhibitions including one man shows in Paris in 1954 and 1960 and in Detroit in 1968. His retrospectives were held in New Delhi and Mumbai in 1987 and a show at the Indus Gallery in Karachi in 1988. A large retrospective was once again held in New Delhi in 1996.

As a strong mode mist Souza's early work made an impact both in India and abroad. His strong, bold lines delineated the head in a distinctive way where it was virtually re-invented the circles, hatchings and crosses. In later years .his forms retained their plasticity but became less incentive.

He lives and works in New York.

Francis Newton Souza-1.jpg (10812 bytes)

F. N. Souza
Mammon
Oil on canvas
19.7" x 27"
1961

Francis Newton Souza-2.jpg (12307 bytes)

F. N. Souza
Eros killing Thanos
Oil on canvas
19.7" x 27"
1984

Francis Newton Souza-3.jpg (11535 bytes)

F. N. Souza
Last Supper
Oil on canvas
47" x 72"
1989