Francis Newton Souza
Indian, 1924-2002
High auction record
$4m, Christie's, 2015
Selected exhibitions
Kama Chameleon,
Abby Grey and Indian Modernism: Selections from the NYU Art Collection,
Grey Art Gallery
After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997,
Queens Museum

Francis Newton Souza was one of the first painters to achieve international recognition from a newly independent India, as well as a leading figure of its avant-garde movement. As a result of his time spent abroad, Souza’s style drew heavily from Expressionism and Art Brut. Often referred to as the “Indian Picasso”, Souza became known for his aggressive lines and thick application of color. He was fascinated with images of the sacred and the profane, and the boundary that divided them; his favorite subjects included the human figure, frequently depicted engaging in erotic acts and organized rituals of religion. Souza was also responsible for co-founding the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group in 1947, which sought to encourage artists to depict Indian subject matter with Western Modernist styles.

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