Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002) – Red House Amidst Trees, c.1960
Oil on canvas
30 x 57cm. (11 13/16 x 22 7/16in.)
Souza’s work is often evaluated within the context of his Indian contemporaries, namely the Progressives, of which he was a founding member. Indeed, it is important to recognise the groups shared passion to break free from convservative teachings following India’s Indepdence in 1947, and when Souza’s works are placed alongside those of artists such as Raza, Padamsee and Husain the similarities are clear.
Like other great artists of the Twentieth Century, Souza was neither daunted by tradition nor disparaging of contemporary visual culture. Instead he adopted various notions and visual references from such sources as the old masters, his contemporaries, and commercial imagery appropriating them to create his own distinct works. In no other case is it more appropriate for a new adjective; Souzaesque.