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F.N. Souza

Bombay, India (1924 - 2002)

Graduated from Sir J.J.School of Arts, Mumbai in 1945 with a Diploma in Painting; Awarded John Moores Prize, Liverpool in 1957; Italian Government Scholarship (through the British Council) in 1960; Awarded Guggenheim International Award, New York, in 1967; Kalidas Sanman, Government of Madhya Pradesh, India in 1998

Selected Posthumous Exhibitions:

'Abby Grey and Indian Modernism: Selections from the NYU Art Collection', Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York (2015); 'Rituals and Reasons: Invoking the Sensual in Art', Apparao Galleries, Chennai (2014); 'Ram Kumar and the Bombay Progressives: The Form and the Figure Part II', Aicon Gallery, New York (2013); 'Ideas of the Sublime', presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2013); 'Extending the Line', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2012); 'Crossings: Time Unfolded, Part 2', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi (2012); 'The Body Unbound', Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2011-12); 'The Path of the Lotus: Indian Art', Grosvenor Gallery, London (2011); 'The Modernists', RL Fine Arts, New York (2010); 'From Miniature to Modern: Traditions in Transition', Rob Dean Art, London in association with Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai (2010); 'Frame Figure Field: 20th Century Modern and Contemporary Indian Art', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi (2008); 'F.N.Souza', presented by Saffronart and Grosvenor Gallery, London at Saffronart, New York (2008); 'Francis Newton Souza: Works on Paper', Saffronart, Mumbai (2003); Grosvenor Gallery, London (1966); Gallery One, London (1960);?Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1954); Gallery Creuze, London (1954); Indian Embassy, London (1951)

Selected Group Exhibitions

'Souza and Baiju', Saffronart and Apparao Galleries, Mumbai (2001); National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai (1996); Coups de Coeur, Halles de LIle, Geneva (1987); Contemporary Indian Art, Royal Academy, London (1982); Guggenheim Foundation USA (1967); Commonwealth Institute, London (1962); Venice Biennale, Italy (1954); Progressive Artists Group, Mumbai (1947)

"But for art, man would die of boredom!" - F.N. Souza
Francis Newton Souza was born in 1924 in Saligao, Goa. After losing his father at a very young age and being afflicted by a serious bout of small pox, he vowed to go about life his own way. Souza was expelled for participating in the Quit India Movement while studying at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. In 1947 he founded the Progressive Artist's Movement along with S.H. Raza, M.F Husain and K.H. Ara, among others. Of all his contemporaries from the Progressive Artists' Group, of which he was the main ideologue, Souza was perhaps the single real international success. An articulate genius, he augmented his disturbing and powerful canvases with his sharp, stylish and provocative prose.?

Francis Newton Souza's unrestrained and graphic style creates thought provoking and powerful images. His repertoire of subjects covers still life, landscape, nudes and icons of Christianity, rendered boldly in a frenzied distortion of form. Souza's paintings express defiance and impatience with convention and with the banality of everyday life. Souza's works have reflected the influence of various schools of art: the folk art of his native Goa, the full-blooded paintings of the Renaissance, the religious fervor of the Catholic Church, the landscapes of the 18th and 19th century Europe and the path-breaking paintings of the moderns. A recurrent theme in his works is the conflict in a man - woman relationship, with an emphasis on sexual tension and friction. In his drawings, he uses line with economy, while still managing to capture fine detail in his forms; or he uses a a profusion of crosshatched strokes that make up the overall structure of his subject.?

In 1949 he left for London where after a few years of struggle he began to make a mark on the art scene. In the 1950's Souza shot to fame with his one-man show at Gallery One in London, which is also when his autobiographical essay "Nirvana of a Maggot" was published. In 1967 he migrated to New York where he received the Guggenheim International Award. He was settled there till he passed away in 2002. Francis Newton Souza has exhibited all over the world. His works are in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. He has also exhibited at the Gallery Creuze, Paris, in 1954; at Arts 38, London, in 1975 and 1976, and at Bose Pacia Modern, New York, in 1998.