Francis Newton Souza, ‘Untitled’, 1966, Christie's South Asian + Chinese

The present work is structural in composition, evolving from abstract renderings of an imaginary architecture that represents houses, trees and windows. The canvas is executed in dark colored lines set against a neutral background, producing a strong rhythmic character. In this painting, Souza employs his cross-hatching technique and the tightly woven lines suggest a building peering through a dense forest. Souza beautifully depicts the scene with wild brushstrokes. This painting is a direct reflection of his uncontrollable painterly passion, and an overarching sense of spirit and joy. Throughout his career, he returns again and again to the abstract and contemplative roughness of architecture and color.

Signature: signed and dated 'Souza 66' (upper left)


About Francis Newton Souza

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.

Indian, 1924-2002