Francis Newton Souza

  • Born 1924 in Saligão, India
  • Died 2002 in Mumbai, India

Francis Newton Souza, often called F. N. Souza, was one of the first painters to achieve international renown in newly independent India. He initially attended the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai but was expelled for participating in the Quit India Movement in 1945. Two years later he co-founded the Progressive Artists’ Group in Bombay, and soon became its intellectual leader. Souza left for London in 1949 and in 1955 he gained sweeping recognition for his first solo show at the Gallery One in London as well as for his autobiographical essay Nirvana of a Maggot, which was first published in Encounter magazine. In 1967 Souza received the Guggenheim International Award and moved to New York, where he remained until shortly before his death. Souza’s images often show distorted human figures and heads drawn or painted in a graphic style with distinct lines, brushstrokes, and contours. His subjects range from still lifes and landscapes to Christian themes and the negotiation of human sexuality. Since the late 1980s he has been honored with several retrospectives in India.

Artworks by Francis Newton Souza in the exhibition