Lot 22
  • 22

Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002)

200,000 - 300,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Francis Newton Souza
  • Untitled
  • Signed and dated 'Souza 59' upper right and signed and dated 'F.N. SOUZA/ 1959' on reverse
  • Oil on board
  • 36 by 36 in. (91.4 by 91.4 cm.)


Acquired by the present owners from Gallery One in the early 1960s

Catalogue Note

As stated earlier (see lot 14) Souza was depressed and horrified by the grim nature of post-war Britain and the angst that inspired artists like Francis Bacon and T. S. Eliot at a similar period clearly also influenced him.  'Souza`s landscapes…seem to be driven by a cataclysmic force, which wreaks havoc. Most of these cityscapes following, at first, a simple rectilinear structure, which later, in the 1960s, gives way to an apocalyptic vision. The tumbling houses in their frenzied movement are also symbolic of all things falling apart, of the very root of things being shaken, of a world of the holocaust and thalidomide babies.' (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p. 93).

Despite the apparent angst of these early cityscapes there is also an evident joy in the use of thick oils applied liberally to the canvas or board, with layers of color  built one upon another and then merged together with swift strokes of the brush or knife. Mullins states that Souza has 'succeeded in creating images which are entirely personal, yet recognisable at the same time.  They are often distorted to the point of destruction - houses no more than lopsided cubes...but they never threaten to dissolve into formalized abstract shapes.  The violence and speed with which they were executed keep these images, however distorted, in touch with the painter's vision of what they really are.' (Edwin Mullins, F. N. Souza, London, 1962, p. 37).

'The landscapes, architectonic with their cubic factors, are ultimately lyrical.  There is an unrestrained enthusiasm, a liberty in the application of color that is swiftly applied with a palette knife creating smooth pulsating textures.'  (Anthony Ludwig, Souza, New Delhi, Dhoomi Mal Gallery Exhibition Catalogue).