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Francis Newton Souza: Bridging Western and Indian Modern Art book

Book relating to an individual, 2006
Published by: Mapin Publishing, India
Year published: 2006
Number of pages: 212
ISBN: 81-88204-63-3

image of Francis Newton Souza: Bridging Western and Indian Modern Art book

Published some four years after the artist’s death, Francis Newton Souza: Bridging Western and Indian Modern Art is one of the major posthumous works on the artist. It was written by Aziz Kurtha. This was a substantial, lavish book, with 200 colour plates and 61 monochrome plates. From the flyleaf:

“Francis Newton Souza was a founder member of the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG), largely responsible for shaping the Modern Art movement in India. He went on to become a celebrated artist in Europe, following exhibitions in London in the 1950s. He was influenced by the traditional temple sculptures of India, even as he was imbibed from the sensibilities of European Old Masters and Modern painters. He was ranked along with artists of the stature of Georges Rouault, Chaime Soutine, Graham Sutherland and even Pablo Picasso.

Souza was bitterly critical of his natal Catholic Church and the hypocrisy of its clergy. He sought to disturb accepted notions of aesthetics and jolt stereotypical perceptions about religion, sin, sexuality and the oppressive political order. His artistic talents, whether in oil painting, writing, or line drawing, remain utterly compelling.

Posthumously, his work has achieved further critical acclaim, and is avidly sought after in India, the UK and the USA. The Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum of London own several of his works and have exhibited them from time to time.

The renowned Indian painter M F Souza paid a tribute by stating, “Souza was my mentor… he is the most significant painter, almost a genius”.

An exhibition of his work in late 2005 at Tate Britain focuses on the themes of religion and erotica in his work and confirms his status not only as a British painter of repute but also as a founder of Indian Modern art.”

Contents as follows:

i    Origin and Influence
ii   London, New York and the Subcontinent
iii  Idiom and Expression
iv  Line and Language
v   Opinion and Appraisal
Appendix  A Fragment of Autobiography
List of Plates

Alongside the copious, high quality reproductions of Souza’s work in the book, are other images, such as Portrait of Souza by M F Husain, Oil on canvas, 87 x 73 cm (35 x 29”), 1946, and images by canonical figures such as Goya, Bacon, Rembrandt, Titian, Manet, and Matisse. The inclusion of plates by such artists points to the book’s extraordinarily well researched and determined art historical narratives.

The cover of Francis Newton Souza: Bridging Western and Indian Modern Art featured Souza’s Mother and Child, Oil, charcoal and chalk on canvas, 92 x 87 cm (37 x 50”), 1962

Related people

»  Francis Newton Souza

Born, 1924 in Goa, India. Died, 2002